Will the upcoming NFL season be Bill Belichick’s last as Patriots head coach?

That’s probably unlikely, but when you consider New England’s recent seasons, a potential exit can’t be completely ruled out. The Patriots went under .500 and missed the playoffs in two of their first three post-Tom Brady campaigns. The outlier? A wild-card shellacking in Buffalo that followed a 10-7 regular season.

As such, Belichick’s seat in Foxboro, Mass. might be getting warmer. The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin offered his read on the situation Wednesday on FS1’s “The Herd.”

“Making the playoffs will make his life a lot easier. If they go 9-8 but miss the playoffs, I think he’s probably safe,” Volin told host Colin Cowherd. “If they have a losing record again, if Mac Jones has another sideways season and the offense isn’t better, the team is boring again, I definitely think Belichick is on the hot seat and there’s a chance he doesn’t come back next year. Again, I think it would have to be a disastrous kind of season, but 7-10 and Mac is screaming at the coaches again — I definitely think that could happen.

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“Bill Belichick is 18 wins away from tying Don Shula and he’s also entering his 49th season, so next year is a huge year for him. His 50th season coaching and he can break Shula’s record. (Robert) Kraft’s not just gonna give him that opportunity if they go 6-11 or 7-10 and it’s a disaster after last year, the bizarre decision to put Matt Patricia in charge of the offense. A few seasons ago, Cam Newton as your quarterback and not trying harder to find a quarterback. Belichick has had some head-scratching decisions and roster moves since Tom Brady has moved on and the team has been very mediocre. They’re one of the least-sexy teams in the NFL right now. If it’s another season like that — five years without a playoff win for the Patriots — I definitely think Belichick’s gonna be on the hot seat.”

Volin previously reported Belichick’s friends fear the legendary head coach is on the hot seat entering the 2023 season. NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran corroborated that report and even took it a step further, claiming Belichick’s seat has had “different levels of warmth” since 2019.

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All told, it sure sounds like Belichick will be under some level of a microscope in the upcoming campaign.

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