It seems inevitable that Bill Belichick will leave the Patriots this offseason. What’s less certain is how New England could sever ties with the greatest coach in NFL history.

Will Belichick be fired? Will he resign? Will he retire? Will there be some kind of standoff?

All of those options are interesting. But they pale in comparison to the possibility of New England trading Belichick.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic recently spoke with multiple NFL executives, some of whom believe a Belichick trade both is possible and would net the Patriots a significant return.

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“Three high-ranking executives from rival teams who were polled by The Athletic believed the 71-year-old could be worth as much as a first-round draft pick,” Howe wrote Thursday. “And for the Patriots, who are well on the way to securing their own top-five pick, such a return could do wonders to jump-start the franchise’s post-Belichick era. ‘He (would) likely have multiple suitors,’ a team executive said.”

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Others weren’t as sold on Belichick’s trade value.

“I’ve got questions about how he relates to this generation of players,” one executive told Howe. “Can he still be a motivator? A leader of men? How does he pivot and adjust his culture?

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“I’ve got a lot of questions with those recent roster moves. Is he going to just be the coach, or does he want (general manager) responsibilities? Because I’m not trading for that.”

There are arguments against trading for Belichick. However, perennial losers, such as the Washington Commanders and Carolina Panthers, could get desperate.

“It only takes one owner, so (the Patriots) should be able to trade him,” another executive told Howe. “If any team is interested, I would think New England would get a first-round pick.”

With the Patriots’ miserable 2023 season nearing an end, we won’t have to wait much longer to learn Belichick’s fate in New England. The incessant speculation finally will end.

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In the meantime, Belichick will try to salvage some semblance of respectability for a once-proud franchise. The 2-10 Patriots will get their next chance to earn a victory Thursday night when they visit the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images