What’s next for Bill Belichick? Falcons, Chargers top NFL landing spots for 2024 after Patriots firing

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Bill Belichick led the Patriots to 296 total wins and six Super Bowl titles during his storied 24-year run with the franchise. However, after a career-worst 4-13 season, the two sides are parting ways.

It isn’t a surprise that Belichick and New England are each seeking a fresh start. While Belichick oversaw the most successful dynastic run in NFL history, things hadn’t gone nearly as well in recent seasons. The franchise went five seasons without a postseason win, and tensions appeared to bubble up between Belichick and owner Robert Kraft as legendary quarterback Tom Brady exited the franchise.

After Brady’s departure, the Patriots went 29-38 in four seasons with only one playoff appearance. The team struggled to replace Brady, as Mac Jones never quite developed into the consistent passing threat that the team had envisioned after a promising rookie season.

Belichick absorbed some of the blame for that, as he struggled to adequately build the roster around Jones and saw a mass exodus of coaching talent after offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was hired by the Raiders. He decided then to replace McDaniels with Matt Patricia despite the latter’s defensive background, and that had predictably disastrous results.

MORE: 8 best Patriots coaching candidates to replace Bill Belichick, from Jerod Mayo to Mike Vrabel

All that’s to say that it was probably time for Belichick and the Patriots to go their separate ways. Despite the negative ending, Belichick remains one of the league’s best defensive-minded coaches. And if he’s willing to give up control of roster-building to another party, he could once again emerge as the leader of a consistent playoff contender.

As such, there will be plenty of interest in Belichick as he prepares to become a free agent for the first time since the turn of the millennium. But which teams make sense as a landing spot for him? There are several that stand out among the crowd.

Bill Belichick landing spots 2024

Atlanta Falcons

It may be strange to describe the Falcons as a team with an easy path toward contention, but Atlanta has the building blocks needed to be a quality team in short order.

The Falcons currently have a good-looking offense — save for the quarterback position. They have a high-end running back in Bijan Robinson, a true No. 1 receiver in Drake London and a mismatch weapon at tight end in Kyle Pitts. Add in a quality offensive line, and that unit will be good with the addition of a first-round quarterback prospect or a veteran like Kirk Cousins or Justin Fields.

Belichick would be a good match with that high-floor offense, and he could be tasked with turning the defense into a more consistent unit. He has done that often with the Patriots, and with building blocks like A.J. Terrell, Jesse Bates and Kaden Elliss in place, the Falcons aren’t far from having a strong defense.

Add in that the Falcons are playing in the weak NFC South and have an owner in Arthur Blank who should be willing to go all-out to win a championship, and Belichick should strongly consider joining the Falcons if granted the opportunity to do so.

MORE: 7 best Falcons coaching candidates to replace Arthur Smith, from Jim Harbaugh to Eric Bieniemy

Los Angeles Chargers

If Belichick wants to join a team that already has its quarterback situation figured out, the Chargers would be the best fit for him. Justin Herbert has posted great numbers during his four-year NFL career, and while he hasn’t enjoyed playoff success yet, that may be more about the coaching surrounding him than the talent.

Brandon Staley struggled immensely during his time with the Chargers. He was often a bit too aggressive with his fourth-down play-calling and he never really developed Los Angeles’ defense into a strong, cohesive unit.

Belichick could certainly achieve that goal. The Patriots have consistently played well on that side of the ball under his watch, so it’s easy to imagine him creating a strong defense with Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack and Derwin James on board.

Considering that Herbert has enjoyed success with three different offensive coaching staffs, it would be easy enough to sell the Chargers’ owners, the Spanos family, on Belichick as an answer for what has ailed them in recent seasons.

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Washington Commanders

Belichick and the Commanders may not seem like the greatest matchup on the surface. Washington is moving on from an old-school, defensive-minded coach who is coming off a 4-13 season, after all.

That may be true, but the Commanders also have a new owner, Josh Harris, who may be looking to find a proven coach who can guide his team and instill a culture in what was an aimless organization under Daniel Snyder. Belichick would instantly command respect and should have more success in leading Washington’s defense than Ron Rivera did during his time with the team.

The only issue with bringing Belichick aboard is that Washington’s offense has similar problems to that of New England. The Commanders have a weak offensive line and no proven option at quarterback. One issue — likely quarterback — can be remedied with the No. 2 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, but trusting Belichick to find or coach up both is no shoo-in.

Still, the Commanders’ offense has more weapons than the Patriots’ did, so with a strong offensive coordinator in tow, Belichick may be able to find success in Washington. Either way, it can’t be ruled out as a landing spot considering that Harris appears “enamored” with the prospect of pursuing Belichick, per ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio.

MORE: Why the Commanders are hiring former NBA GM Bob Myers in advisory role

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers may look similar to the Falcons on paper, but they might not be as ideal of a landing spot for Belichick. Why? It’s all about Bryce Young.

Young just endured a rocky first season as a starting quarterback, posting just a 73.9 passer rating while tossing 11 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and struggling to consistently lead the Panthers on scoring drives. He likely needs an offensive-minded head coach to help unlock his full potential, so Belichick wouldn’t check that box.

The other issue at play here is that David Tepper has been as mercurial an owner as they come in the NFL since he bought the team in 2018. It isn’t clear whether Tepper would have patience with any rebuild that Belichick needs to organize despite his standing as one of the greatest coaches in NFL history. That may make this a less appealing landing spot as a result.

Still, the Panthers have the building blocks needed to sport a quality defense and they play in the weak and wide-open NFC South. That could be enough for Belichick to make Carolina his new digs, especially if he is looking for full control over football operations. Tepper may be willing to do that if it means landing a big fish like Belichick.

Philadelphia Eagles

OK, let’s get weird for a second. The Eagles have collapsed down the stretch of the 2023 NFL season, and there has been increasing buzz about Nick Sirianni’s job security.

It seems a bit farfetched that Philadelphia would fire Sirianni. After all, he just led the Eagles to a Super Bowl appearance last season, and the team has made the playoffs in each of his three seasons. Still, if the Eagles think that things aren’t working with Sirianni, they could opt to bring Belichick aboard in the hopes that he could rejuvenate the team’s disastrous defense.

Belichick would have plenty of talent with which to work in Philadelphia. He also would be paired with Howie Roseman — known as one of the best general managers in the NFL — so that would help to shore up some of the weaknesses that Belichick has endured in roster-building in recent seasons.

So, in theory, this pairing would be an entertaining one. In practice, it’s still hard to imagine the Eagles pulling of this sort of change-up after three successful seasons under Sirianni.

MORE: Meet the NFL’s 7 rising coaching candidates from Ben Johnson to Dave Canales

Will Bill Belichick retire?

It’s hard to imagine Belichick retiring after his 24-year run with the Patriots. Why? The 71-year-old hasn’t shown any desire to retire in the past, and the coach is on the cusp of breaking a record once thought to be unbreakable.

Belichick needs just 15 more wins to pass Don Shula’s all-time NFL wins record, playoffs included. Shula won 347 games during his storied career while Belichick has won 333 combined contests with the Browns and the Patriots.

Belichick is known to have a great appreciation for NFL history, so it’s hard to imagine him calling it quits when he has a legitimate chance to surpass Shula’s record in the coming seasons. Perhaps he would consider taking a year off if he was younger, but at this point, it seems likely he will want to continue coaching as he looks to prove himself in his post-Brady era.

Oh, and also, this quote from his end-of-year news conference should just about solidify that he will be back in 2024.

“I still enjoy coaching,” he told reporters.

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