The New England Patriots suddenly have six holes to fill on their roster after six players — including Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung — opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns about COVID-19. Seriousness of the subject matter aside, that has to be good news for other teams, right?
Well, apparently not.
In a text exchange with ESPN’s Adam Schefter, an anonymous NFL executive communicated apparent concern that Bill Belichick is “masterminding” his team’s opt-out situation. No, we’re not kidding.
Check out this tweet:
Actual text exchange with an NFL executive today after a sixth Patriot opted out:
Him: “You know Bill is masterminding all of this somehow.”
Me: “For what reason?”
Him: “I don’t know! That’s why he is who he is!”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 28, 2020
So, what could Belichick gain from persuading at least six players to sit out the 2020 season? Your guess is as good as ours. Sure, the moves freed up salary cap space — Jadeveon Clowney, anyone? — but one would assume Belichick rather would have players like Hightower and Chung in the fold.
There really is nothing in sports quite like Patriots paranoia.