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Report: Bill Belichick locked into "lucrative, multi-year" contract with Patriots beyond 2023

Mike Vrabel, Dante Scarnecchia inducted into Patriots Hall of Fame
Mike Vrabel, Dante Scarnecchia inducted into Patriots Hall of Fame 01:22

BOSTON -- The biggest story of the Patriots' 2023 season dropped on Sunday morning, and it has nothing to do with the team on the field.

Instead, it has to do with head coach Bill Belichick, with NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reporting that Belichick signed a contract extension this past offseason.

"Allow me to add some news: Sources say Bill Belichick, during the offseason, quietly agreed to terms on a lucrative, multi-year, new contract," Rapoport said. "His contract is one of the most closely held secrets in New England. That said, I think it's fair to say there was at least some uncertainty or intrigue surrounding him. Now, contractually, he is locked up long-term."

This is, of course, rather significant news, given the state of the football team.

The Patriots sit at 1-5, in line for their worst finish since at least the year 2000, with the possibility that the team finishes the season with its lowest win total since 1992. The roster construction -- largely Belichick's doing -- has left the offense without any game-changing players. Mac Jones' development was short-circuited in year two when Belichick opted to let Matt Patricia and Joe Judge run the offense, an inexplicable disaster of an experiment, and the quarterback who looked solid as a rookie has not yet recovered.

And in the present, the Patriots suffered two of the worst losses in franchise history in back-to-back weeks, losing 38-3 in Dallas before losing 34-0 at home against the Saints.

While this season certainly represents a bottoming out, there's no question that the franchise has been wallowing in mediocrity since Belichick opted to not keep Tom Brady as the quarterback following the 2019 season. Including the playoff loss in 2021, the Patriots are now 26-31 since letting Brady depart via free agency.

With Belichick set to turn 72 years old next April, and with the team potentially on its way to landing a top-five pick in the draft, it has felt in New England as though the team and the head coach/de facto GM were setting up for an amicable split at season's end. Now, with Robert Kraft contractually obligated to pay a "lucrative" salary to Belichick -- as Rapoport noted, Belcihick's contract has always been a secret, but he is believed to make $20 million annually -- the picture of the future of the team does indeed change.

Kraft could still decide that Belichick's time in New England is up after 24 years, but doing so would likely come with a very hefty price tag.

Needless to say, the road map for the future of the franchise has gotten a bit more complicated.

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