Robert Kraft reportedly has a top choice to replace Bill Belichick as Patriots head coach — and it’s not Jerod Mayo.

No, Kraft’s preferred Belichick replacement is current Tennessee Titans head coach and Patriots Hall of Famer Mike Vrabel, according to a recent report from The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin. The rumor about Vrabel was included in a wide-ranging story about how the Krafts feel about New England’s future, including head coach and general manager candidates.

Here’s Volin’s full excerpt about Vrabel:

Two sources close to the Patriots have independently said the same thing: They believe Vrabel, currently the Titans’ coach, is the Krafts’ “home run” choice to succeed Belichick.

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Vrabel was the 2021 NFL Coach of the Year, went to the playoffs in three of his first five seasons in Tennessee, and took the Titans to the 2020 AFC Championship game, which included a playoff win in Foxborough against Tom Brady. Vrabel has the cachet of being a former player, and has proven he can win big games. The report of Belichick’s contract conveniently came out the same day the Krafts feted Vrabel at Gillette Stadium, inviting the Titans coach to sit with them in the owners’ box for the Patriots-Bills game.

Vrabel got a new contract with the Titans in February 2022, but the Patriots perhaps have an opportunity to pry him loose and bring him “home” to Foxborough.

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Volin noted that Vrabel doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with Titans general manager Ran Carthon. He also speculated New England would need to trade at least a first-round pick to pry Vrabel from Tennessee, which is 3-5 this season.

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Volin’s report arrived amid mounting calls for Belichick to lose his job during this season or once the campaign ends. The Patriots went 2-6 in their first eight games and appear to be staring at a rebuild.

However, there are many variables at play. Belichick’s reported contract restructuring could be a factor, as could whether he’d be interested in a trade to a franchise like, say, the Washington Commanders. We also have no idea whether he even wants to coach beyond this season.

Nevertheless, the note about Vrabel is interesting. And it’s somewhat surprising considering Mayo, currently New England’s linebackers coach, appeared to be the head coach-in-waiting. Volin said Mayo isn’t a “lock” to be the next head coach and instead could be promoted to defensive coordinator.

One thing that’s certain: Belichick’s job status will be the top Patriots storyline in the weeks and months ahead.

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Featured image via Scott Galvin/USA TODAY Sports Images