The Patriots’ decision to move on from Bill Belichick after the 2023 NFL season did not come as a surprise.
The legendary head coach had led New England to dynastic success and six Super Bowls during his 24 seasons. But after the Patriots finished with the NFL’s second-worst record (4-13) in 2023, both sides agreed to go their separate ways.
What’s more surprising is what has come next: Few teams with head coach openings have expressed interest in Belichick despite his availability.
So far during the 2024 NFL offseason, the Falcons have been the only team to interview Belichick — but he’s not going to Atlanta. That opening went to Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, as he re-joins the organization he was with from 2015 to 2020.
With Belichick failing to land the Falcons job, his chances of coaching during the 2024 NFL season are growing slimmer. Why? Because the remaining teams looking for coaches haven’t yet demonstrated an interest in him.
Of course, the NFL’s coach hiring cycle can be fickle. The veteran coach hasn’t been ruled out for any of the other jobs, and one of the other teams could turn to him.
MORE: Latest news, updates, rumors about Bill Belichick potential landing spots, future
But with Atlanta bowing out, the question of what’s next for Belichick comes to the forefront.
Which NFL teams haven’t hired head coaches?
Dissecting Belichick’s next step involves looking at which NFL head coaching jobs remain available. As of late Thursday afternoon, there are two:
- Seattle Seahawks
- Washington Commanders
The Falcons seemed like the frontrunners to land Belichick at one point. However, after an extensive search that included at least a dozen candidates, Atlanta elected to go with Morris. The club brings back the former defensive coordinator, who also acted as interim head coach for 11 games in 2020 after the firing of Dan Quinn.
The Seahawks are another team that doesn’t seem like a fit for Belichick. They just moved on from Pete Carroll, who Belichick replaced in New England in 2000.
Reading the tea leaves, it’s possible that the Seahawks wanted to replace the 72-year-old Carroll, who had been the oldest coach in the NFL, with a younger candidate. The oldest candidate to get a second interview with the Seahawks to date is Dan Quinn, 53, so that would seemingly eliminate the 71-year-old Belichick from consideration.
Finally, the Commanders have been heavily tied to Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. There hasn’t been much buzz about their search outside of that, so Washington may simply be waiting patiently to strike until Detroit is eliminated from postseason contention.
So it’s hard to find a potential landing spot for Belichick. The Panthers could have been one before they hired Dave Canales, but now Belichick needs to hope that the Seahawks or Commanders eventually come around, or that another coaching job opens up.
MORE: How Patriots’ 2023 campaign compares to Bill Belichick’s worst-ever seasons
Could Bill Belichick coach the Chiefs if Andy Reid retires?
While another NFL coaching change doesn’t seem likely, never say never. If there is one, it could come in Kansas City.
This has nothing to do at all with the performance of Andy Reid. He has earned the right to coach the Chiefs for pretty much as long as he wants.
That said, there has been speculation that Reid could retire over the last couple of seasons, though Reid didn’t add fuel to the fire after the Chiefs’ wild-card win over the Dolphins.
“I haven’t even thought about that,” Reid said about retirement per ProFootballTalk. “I’m thinking about one thing. I figured that would come up when you guys were asking these questions because I’m old — but, not that old.”
Even so, Reid turns 66 in March, and if he decides that he wants to hang up the headset, it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise. If that does happen, then Belichick could draw consideration for the job given his defensive expertise and his history of managing a top-tier quarterback in Tom Brady.
But the Chiefs would immediately become the most attractive head coach opening of the year. And they might have their own ideas, such as Eric Bieniemy, who spent five years as the team’s offensive coordinator before spending a year in Washington.
MORE: Why the Patriots moved on from Bill Belichick, explained
What’s next for Bill Belichick if he’s not a head coach?
If the Chiefs are out of the picture, Belichick will face a tough decision about what to do next.
Here are three possible options, none of which would be ideal as he looks to break Don Shula’s all-time NFL wins record.
Work as a defensive coordinator
If Belichick doesn’t want to give up coaching, he may have to join a team as a defensive coordinator or assistant head coach.
There would be some obstacles for Belichick in getting such a role simply because he has been a head coach for so long. That might make it hard to pair him with a first-year coach looking to establish himself or with a veteran coach who is unwilling to let Belichick run things his way.
Still, Belichick remains one of the league’s best defensive minds. So if he’s willing to accept work as a defensive coordinator, there should be at least one team out there that would be happy to have him to the fold in 2024.
Get a TV gig
This may sound laughable for those who have only seen Belichick’s press conference videos, but he shined when providing analysis for NFL Network’s “All-Time Team” special.
It isn’t clear if Belichick would like to work in TV, but networks will likely target him if he doesn’t coach during the 2024 season.
Wait patiently for a head coaching job in 2025
Finally, Belichick could sit out the 2024 season and take a year off after spending 24 years as a head coach. A break could leave him fresh for the 2025 hiring cycle. It could also allow him some time to reflect upon what he can improve after a bumpy final stretch with the Patriots.
Taking time off very well could be in Belichick’s cards, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The Falcons are the only team with which he has interviewed, and he does not have any known interviews scheduled with the Seahawks or Commanders.
The #Falcons were the only team to interview legendary coach Bill Belichick, and there are no known scheduled interviews. Potentially, Belichick could sit out the year and await an opportunity in 2025.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 25, 2024
If he does sit out, there will be some high-quality teams with coaches on the hot seat in 2024. The Cowboys, Eagles and Bills all stand out as teams that might need to make a change if they don’t reach their ceilings during the next campaign, with Mike McCarthy, Nick Sirianni and Sean McDermott all on notice.
Belichick could eye one of those gigs to pair himself with a roster that is ready to win now.
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