There's Nothing Bill Belichick Disciples Like More Than Signing Former Patriots

Brian Flores and Bill Belichick
Brian Flores and Bill Belichick / Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

We already knew this to an extent, but the opening of 2020 NFL free agency has really hammered home just how much former Bill Belichick assistants-turned-head-coaches absolutely love to bring in guys from New England.

There are currently four Belichick disciples amongst the league's head coaching ranks: Bill O'Brien in Houston, Brian Flores in Miami, Joe Judge in New York, and Matt Patricia in Detroit. Since the legal tampering period began on Monday, the Texans haven't done anything other than trade DeAndre Hopkins in a widely-ridiculed transaction for David Johnson that may have more to it than we initially thought, and the Giants have stood pat as well. But the Dolphins and Lions have acquired a combined five players who played in New England last year; the Lions signed Danny Shelton and Jamie Collins while trading for Duron Harmon, and the Dolphins signed Ted Karras and Kyle Van Noy. Detroit in particular has been guilty of pillaging the New England roster, given they have both Patricia and former Patriots personnel man Bob Quinn calling the shots.

While that grouping came so far in this free agency period, Flores and Patricia have loaded up on former Pats over the last few years. As a matter of fact, there are nearly two dozen former New England players combined between the two rosters.

It isn't terribly surprising that these coaches want to bring in guys they're familiar with as both culture and personnel fits, but it seems to happen more often with former Pats than any other coaching tree. In the past it hasn't resulted in much success; Belichick's coaching tree is filled with head coaches who brought in their guys from New England and crashed and burned regardless.

Still, it's an interesting phenomenon to watch. After leading the Dolphins to a better record than we all anticipated (even if that bar was exceptionally low), Flores seems set up for some level of success, and bringing in Van Noy and Karras is following in the footsteps of his failed predecessors. Perhaps this time it will turn out differently.