With the future of Bill Belichick up in the air after the 2023 season, it feels like speculation has been running rampant about where he could wind up coaching in 2024 and beyond. Belichick has obviously established a legacy as the greatest NFL head coach of all time, and the dynasty he built with the New England Patriots was nothing short of remarkable.
So how bad does the 71-year-old want to start over in a new city beyond this year? Is he going to invest another 5-10 years into another team where he will be close to the age of 80 by the time a contract is up? As I was reading through some of Belichick's quotes leading up to the Denver Broncos Week 16 matchup against New England, I started idea-storming the thought of Belichick coming to the Mile High City.
Now before anyone accuses me of clickbaiting (inevitable), all I ask is that you hear me out. I realize that Belichick coming to Denver is a pie-in-the-sky idea and that it's not really realistic, but maybe by the end of the case I'm going to make, you'll wonder if Belichick might be interested after all.
There is nothing Bill Belichick needs to do to cement his legacy. It's already done. Leaving New England to be the head coach of another team at the age of 71 going on 72 shouldn't be a requirement in his mind. Belichick has effectively served as the head coach/GM of the Patriots for nearly 25 years at this point, and let's just say that Belichick would go and become the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.
Now, the pressure is on to fix a seemingly cursed franchise, hire an offensive staff that will work for Justin Herbert, and win a division with Patrick Mahomes/Andy Reid at the top as well as Sean Payton now building something in Denver. Is that to say Belichick can't do it? Absolutely not. All I'm saying is, Belichick doesn't need to prove anything to anyone at this point. Is he going to have the Chargers -- or any other team -- competing for a Super Bowl in the next 3-5 years?
Belichick is the type of football nut that I think would absolutely accept a role as a defensive coordinator elsewhere. And not just defensive coordinator, but how about some additional roles on top of that? Let's just lay it out there as plainly as possible.
I'm proposing an idea for Bill Belichick to come onto Sean Payton's staff as an assistant/associate head coach as well as the defensive coordinator. Imagine Sean Payton and Bill Belichick working together after all they've accomplished as NFL head coaches...And not just Belichick working on the coaching staff, but naming his price to do so.
The Denver Broncos ownership group has the type of capital to be able to allow Belichick to name his price. There's no salary cap among coaches in the NFL. They could offer Belichick whatever he would reasonably want to come to Denver as the leader of the defense, but Sean Payton could also offer him stake in the front office. Belichick could be in charge of all facets of the defense from personnel to play-calling. He could build his staff on that side of the ball and give the Broncos an Avengers-like super-staff.
Once again, let's be clear. This is not exactly a "realistic" idea, it's just some idea-storming with the prompt of: what would it take to get Bill Belichick to Denver? I think he and Sean Payton obviously have a lot of mutual respect for each other and Belichick outlined that in one of his press conferences this past week:
"Obviously, you see Sean [Payton]'s mark on the team. Sean, ton of respect for him, what he's done for his career, just the way he coaches, the way he prepares and just the football coach that he is. I think Sean does a great job."- Bill Belichick
Now, does that quote mean Belichick is going to want to come and be Denver's defensive coordinator? That's not what I'm saying. What I am saying is that the mutual respect of these coaches is obviously important in any hypothetical scenario like this. If these two guys had some kind of longstanding beef or bad working relationship, it obviously wouldn't even be worth throwing out there.
I just can't help but think that Belichick, now into his 70s, might prefer to take on a role like this if he wants to stay coaching beyond this season. He could be the head coach of a defense that has proven itself to be elite for a long stretch of the 2023 season and he would be free to pursue whatever players he would want while getting paid whatever he asks. Because the Broncos can afford it.
And having a head coach of the defense was always Sean Payton's vision. He landed on Vance Joseph after cycling through a variety of names, including asking Vic Fangio to come back to Denver. The Broncos also considered pulling Rex Ryan out of ESPN. If they were willing to make those kinds of asks, why not this? As the great Michael Scott once said, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.
Bill Belichick has the money. He has the rings. He has the legacy. He's going into the Hall of Fame one day as the Patriots head coach. And that could be yet another factor. Does Belichick want to have a "post-Patriots" career as a head coach at this point? He might want to continue coaching while also making sure the Patriots are the last team he was the head coach of, and he also may not want to commit to being the head coach of a new team when he'll be 72 in April.
You never know. Even if it's unlikely, it's interesting to think about. Everyone has a price and if Belichick hits the open coaching market, he's going to have teams lined up to hire him. Hopefully, Sean Payton would at least make a call and see what it would take to get him to Denver.