The rumblings of the potential for Bill Belichick to return to the NY Giants increased after the Patriots’ first-round playoff loss against the Titans.
The notion of Bill Belichick returning to the NY Giants on a white stallion to resurrect the franchise from its darkest days has been one that has been floated out in the ethos by media and Giants fans alike for some time now.
Initially considered little more than a pipedream by most, the plausibility of a reunion between one of the greatest minds in football history and the franchise in which he cut his teeth has witnessed an exponential growth in believers and stories developing in the rumor mill.
The rumor of a reuniting between Bill Belichick and the NY Giants first was reported when questions arose about the relationship between New England Patriots legendary quarterback Tom Brady and Belichick were brought to the forefront over Belichick banishing Brady’s personal trainer and good friend Alex Guerrero from all team facilities.
They were further expounded upon when reports surfaced that Belichick wanted Patriots owner Robert Kraft to approve a trade of Brady so that the organization could transition to Brady’s backup Jimmy Garoppolo in an effort to set the franchise up for greater success in the future.
Kraft would deny that request and instead, the Patriots would opt to trade Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers in 2017, for the 49ers 2018 second-round pick. The move signaled the first time publicly that Kraft and Belichick did not agree on the future of the franchise moving forward.
Since being traded to the 49ers, San Francisco has experienced a resurgence with Garoppolo as their starting quarterback. Given that he is 14 years younger than Brady, one has to imagine that the continued success that Garoppolo is having in San Francisco leaves Belichick bitter over the end result of his request to keep the young franchise quarterback.
While the idea of a potential return to New York by Belichick began to gain momentum early in the regular season when Brady declined to definitively address his future with the team amidst reports that he had put his home in New England up for sale, those notions were quickly dismissed by naysayers due to the 8-0 start to the season by the Patriots.
Most considered this just another year in the dynastic march of the Patriots, one that has seen the Belichick led team make the playoffs in 17 of their past 19 seasons, with an incredible nine Super Bowl appearances, culminating in six championships.
After all, pundits have declared the Patriots dynasty dead a number of different times over the years now, only for the team to disprove its doubters and continue their winning ways, including an impressive Super Bowl win against the Los Angeles Rams just last season.
However, when news broke that New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and assistant general manager Nick Caserio planned on interviewing with other teams for head coaching and general manager positions following the season, the rumors of a potential reunion between the Giants and Belichick began churning once again.
After all, McDaniels had spurned the opportunity to join the Indianapolis Colts after first agreeing in principal to join them. It was later learned that the Patriots offered McDaniels a new contract that would pay him upwards of $4 million annually to stay. The new contract essentially paid McDaniels head coaching money to remain with the Patriots as Belichick’s future successor.
Caserio has served as Bill Belichick’s right-hand man in New England’s front office, assisting with contract negotiations and salary cap structuring surrounding the players that Belichick determined a good fit for his roster.
With Brady’s pending free agency, if he does in fact harbor any resentment for Belichick over the Alex Guerrero banishment, the attempt to move on from him in favor of Garoppolo, or any other reason that may not have come to light yet, he may decide to leverage his free-agent status to force Robert Kraft to move on from Belichick.
The fact that Caserio and McDaniels are interviewing elsewhere may serve as a compelling case for Kraft and Belichick to mutually part ways. It would make sense for Kraft to want to move forward with the two younger, 41-year-old disciples of Belichick, over their 67-year-old mentor, especially if his legendary quarterback is in favor of a split from his long-time head coach.
Loyalty to a legendary player, who has delivered the franchise championships, can serve as a compelling motivator for franchise owners. One needs to look no further than the decisions that the New York Giants ownership took with Eli Manning last season. Rather than cutting or restructuring a deal with Manning, the ownership group opted to pick up an option that would count for approximately $23 million against the cap.
Owner John Mara would later state that he is loyal perhaps to a fault and that was the determining factor behind picking up Manning’s option. The Giants were worried about the backlash that they could face from their fans if Manning decided to sign elsewhere and retire anything but a New York Giant.
Robert Kraft could be facing a similar dilemma this offseason. All of the signs of deterioration are there for Brady, as they were for Manning. However, the idea that he doesn’t have the skill set he did in his prime could be blindly ignored in favor of the popular idea of having Brady only wear a Patriots jersey for the duration of his career.
Following the loss to the Tennessee Titans in the first round of the playoffs, the likelihood of wholesale changes for the Patriots became much greater than if they had made another prolific march through the playoffs and to the Super Bowl.
Josh McDaniels and Nick Caserio will now be available to interview with other teams immediately. Had the Patriots won and continued on, the likelihood of teams in search of head coaching and general manager candidates would have dwindled as teams want to get a plan for next year in place as soon as possible and don’t want to miss out on their top choices.
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will also be forced to reevaluate their current situation with the New England Patriots and make a determination as to how they want to close out their storied careers. Belichick has already stated that he plans on continuing in football and Brady mentioned in his postgame interview that he does not plan on retiring.
As for the NY Giants, they continue to search for their head coaching replacement, following the decision to part ways with Pat Shurmur following another dismal season. They have requested the right to interview both McDaniels and Patriots special teams coach Joe Judge. In total, the Giants have lined up eight interviews with head coaching candidates.
Meanwhile, Giants ownership gave a vote of confidence to current general manager Dave Gettleman, stating that they feel he is currently the best option to lead the team in their desired direction. However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the new head coach of the team will have input as to whether the general manager stays or goes, making Gettleman’s standing with the team less solid than it may seem.
Should Bill Belichick and the Patriots somehow decide that their best course of action is to part ways with one another, one would assume that if he would like to continue working in the NFL, he would be enticed to come back to New York and work for his good friend John Mara.
It also stands to reason that if someone of Belichick’s caliber were to come available, the Giants would certainly pounce on the opportunity, even if that meant backtracking on their previous vote of confidence to Gettleman, as the track record of Bill Belichick is too great for them to pass up.
For now, it remains a wait-and-see situation where the probability of a potential split is highly unlikely. Given the number of uncertainties that are currently facing the New England Patriots, the notion of Bill Belichick parting ways with the franchise he has been so successful with to return to a NY Giants team that has been so putrid for much of the past decade now seems more plausible than ever before.