Sunday marks the last day of the regular season and it could be the last time that Bill Belichick coaches the New England Patriots. Belichick's future has been heavily speculated on all season with the LA Chargers emerging as one of the potential favorites to hire the greatest coach of all time.
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is the fanbase's No. 1 option but Belichick is a close second. After all, he has won six Super Bowls and on paper, could fix the Chargers' defense while allowing Justin Herbert to do what he does best on offense.
There was real reason to believe that the Chargers-Belichick partnership would be one that both parties seek out. However, that reality is getting less and less likely, with NFL insider Ian Rapoport perhaps delivering the dagger on Sunday morning. In a report about Belichick's future and what could happen next, Rapoport subtly sneaked in a Belichick-Chargers update.
"The Commanders are not likely to pursue Belichick if they move on from head coach Ron Rivera, and the Chargers and Raiders are considered less likely options. The Panthers, however, had some interest during their head-coaching search when they eventually hired Frank Reich, sources say, and they might inquire again. There is also the possibility that a team with a head-coaching position not yet open could have interest in Belichick."
NFL Rumors: Chargers could be out of the running for Bill Belichick
This does not mean that it is impossible and it won't happen but Rapoport specifically mentioning the Chargers and the fact that it is even less likely now is a telling sign. As the Chargers potentially prepare to pursue Harbaugh, Belichick does not seem like a feasible option.
And quite frankly, that is for the betterment of the franchise. Yes, Belichick is the greatest coach of all time and he still is one of the best coaches in the league. But there are more strings attached to Belichick that simply make him unintriguing. The Chargers are starting to realize that.
The first is Belichick's roster control. Belichick would likely demand roster control in LA like he has had in New England. If you think Tom Telesco was a bad general manager, go back and look at the Patriots' last 10 NFL Draft and the free agents they have signed.
Then there is the fact that Belichick is still under contract. While Belichick and the Patriots could agree to a clean break that allows him to pursue other opportunities, if he does leave the more likely outcome is the Patriots trading him. The Chargers would have to send a trade package that is worth as much, if not more, than the Denver Broncos trade that allowed them to hire Sean Payton.
The Chargers are not in a situation to trade draft capital for a head coach just so he can chase the all-time wins record in LA with a new franchise quarterback. Ownership is starting to realize that and the Belichick speculation is getting more and more faint by the day.