By now every New York football fan has heard about the rift in the once rock-solid relationship between the Big Three in New England. Owner Robert Kraft sided with QB Tom Brady’s wish to have his valuable understudies, Jimmy Garappolo and Jacoby Brissett, shipped out to prevent being traded away by head coach Bill Belichick himself.
The story, that was released by ESPN The Magazine this morning, has set the NFL on its collective ear. The 40 year-old Brady believes he can play until he’s 45 thanks to a new age conditioning regimen that has kept him limber and prospering. He is still at the top of his game and is the favorite to be named the league’s MVP this year.
But that’s just where the story begins. Kraft’s affection for Brady has left Belichick on the outs in Foxborough and the rumors are swirling the 65 year-old coaching icon is considering walking away from the organization he has so adroitly made the NFL’s standard the past 18 seasons.
That news has led to pundits trying to figure out where Belichick will land next, and the New York Football Giants seem to be the prime landing spot for him. Belichick was the Giants’ defensive coordinator during the Bill Parcells years and has always remembered his time in East Rutherford with reverence. He could end up back here as the Giants, coincidentally, are in the market for a head coach.
Now this is all smoke at the moment but there could be some fire to follow. Belichick is said to be so “pissed” at Kraft that he practically gave Garappolo and Brissett away in trades that were clearly one-sided in the recipients’ favor. Now, he is shopping his two coordinators – Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia – heavily around the league to teams seeking new heads coaches, including the Giants. He never does that. Actively, anyway.
The Giants have to be interested. They are coming off perhaps the worst season in franchise history and need to do a quick 180-degree turn this offseason. They just hired a new GM in Dave Gettleman and he has vowed to “kick ass” and has done just that since taking over the office two weeks ago. Adding Belichick would be a bold stroke and make the Giants an immediate force in the NFC again. CEO John Mara and Chairman Steve Tisch just might have to appetite for such a move.
But how much will it cost them? No one nows exactly how much Belichick earns salary-wise. At last glance, he was making in the neighborhood of $7.5 million annually but that may have changed as the Patriots do not make such information public. We also don’t know if he’s still under contract.
If he is still under contract and decides to ‘retire’, the Giants would likely have to send compensation north to the already rich Patriots. How much is still to be determined. It probably won’t be the No. 2 overall selection but it could be several picks over the next few seasons. Gettleman may find that to be too rich for a team he needs to rebuild from the inside out.
If Belichick is free and clear after this season (and many believe he isn’t) it’s a no-brainer for the Giants. New York is a win-now culture and Belichick is the biggest winner in recent NFL history.
In the meantime, the Giants are proceeding with their head coaching search. They have had several candidates in already, including Patricia and McDaniels, and are taking their time with the hire. That bodes well for the Belichick wishers. No one can hire the Patriots coaches until their season ends, which may not be until February. The Giants are keeping their options open. Its a long shot right now but one can dream, can’t one?