The New England Patriots will play the Washington Commanders on Sunday afternoon. The two franchise are in similar states but moving different directions to deal with it. Both teams are bad, lagging miles behind their divisional counterparts, and any prospects worth getting excited about are on the defensive side of the ball. The Commanders recognized this and decided to trade away a few blue-chip defensive prospects to recoup draft capital and undergo a rebuild of sorts. The Patriots, on the other hand, continue to fight against the dying light of the once-great dynasty and seem to be focused on making short-term moves with long-term costs.
That contrast is far more interesting than whatever will happen on the field in Foxborough on Sunday. Mike Florio added an extra layer of... something when discussing the matchup on PFT Live today. Florio did the Brian Windhorst thing where he hinted at something that might happen if a few different things were to go in a certain direction, making it very clear he was not reporting anything concrete but rather what he's "hearing." This sort of nebulous reporting drives sports fans insane but it also provides some entertaining content.
Such was the case with Florio earlier this afternoon, as he posited that the Commanders could trade for Bill Belichick over the offseason and he could bring in all of his old pals to give the franchise culture the hard reset it needs. WEEI's Mike Kadlick posted the comments in full on Twitter:
And here's a transcription, since unfurling tweets can be a pain these days:
"I heard something over the weekend and I've been trying to think of the best way and the best time to talk about it, and it's not a 'report'.
Look, when you're plugged into everything that's happening, and talk to a lot of different people, you hear things. And you hear certain things that make you say, 'Whoa, hmm, that's interesting.'
And what I heard over the weekend from someone I know and someone I trust that made me say, 'Whoa, that's interesting' is the possibility that the end result for the Commanders is a trade with the #Patriots for Bill Belichick.
And it makes sense when you think about it. And it puts in a new context that leak. That strange Sunday morning splash report about 'Bill Belichick in the off-season signed a lucrative multiyear contract with the Patriots.'
My first thought was: 'That's Belichick's camp getting out the idea that this guy ain't gonna be fired during the season.'
The other explanation for it is, it's the Patriots getting out the idea as owners throughout the league begin the process of figuring out who they want to hire next year.
It's a reminder: 'You're not just going to be able to go hire Bill Belichick. If you want him, you gotta deal with us. We have his contractual rights for multiple years. We're not gonna fire him. We're gonna wait for somebody to call us up and offer us something for him. We're gonna get back what we gave the Jets to get him. We're gonna get value for this asset, even if we are done with it, we're not just gonna roll it out to the curb. We're gonna make you knock on the door and buy it from us.'
So that made sense. And when you throw in yesterday's developments, No. 1: the Commanders clearly in, we're preparing for the future without our current key employees mode. And No. 2: Josh McDaniels is available again. All the more reason to go get Bill because you can bring Josh McDaniels in as the offensive coordinator because nobody's gonna hire him to be a head coach next year.
The bands back together. We're off to Washington and here we go with Belichick and McDaniels. Hell, maybe they'll bring back that Patricia and off, they go with the Patriot Way...
It's not a report, but it's definitely something that is making its way around the grapevine.
That is the National Football League network of insiders and employees and coaches and others who talk about stuff. That's something they're talking about."
As we said-- very nebulous and based off a series of very specific readings of the tea leaves from this season. The only indisputable part of this monologue is that the Commanders will be looking for a new head coach this offseason.
Let's just say, for fun, that what everybody is talking about actually happens. That the Commanders send off a first-rounder or whatever to New England to get Belichick and he gets the gang back together. How brutal would that be for Washington fans? Because obviously that team would be horrific. Belichick isn't a very good coach anymore and McDaniels' alleged offensive mastery was nowhere in sight while in Las Vegas. Patricia should be unemployable at this point between his Lions and second Patriots tenure. Yet it is easy to imagine the Commanders ownership talking themselves into a new version of the Patriot Way in the nation's capital.
And it would be so painful for the fans. They finally escaped Daniel Snyder's circle of football hell and instead end up in purgatory with Belichick trading away all their young talent for former Patriots players to go 7-10 while losing by a billion to the Cowboys and Eagles. They don't deserve that.
Best not to think too much about it if you are one of those fans. Approximately a thousand things need to go a very particular direction in order for this to even be a possibility, much less a reality. But out of the many moves the Commanders could make this would definitely be the absolute worst. Trading much-needed draft capital to bring in a crotchety old head coach who won't get with the times and will literally only hire people he's either related to or worked with? There's no faster way to get stuck on the treadmill of mediocrity than going that route.