Bill Belichick “mutually” parted ways with the Patriots on Thursday, and the head coach will have plenty of teams to choose from for his next stop, but an AFC West club might be off the table.

The Las Vegas Raiders had a case for Belichick’s next stop after New England due to Mark Davis’ desire for the team to compete on the largest stage and Tom Brady’s connections with ownership.

However, Antonio Pierce is the leading candidate to be the Raiders’ full-time head coach, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Saturday. The linebackers coach was elevated to interim head coach after Josh McDaniels was fired midseason. Pierce received full support from players, who also want him to be elevated to full-time head coach, according to Schefter.

Las Vegas also is interested in Jim Harbaugh, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero on Saturday. However, sources told NFL Media Maxx Crosby will request a trade if Pierce isn’t named head coach. Crosby is one of the league’s most dynamic playmakers, and a new head coach would have to work hard to win back the locker room that strongly backed Pierce.

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Belichick commands authority and respect across the league, so he could win back the Raiders if he was hired. But all signs seem to point toward Pierce as the next Raiders head coach.

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“I would be blown away if Antonio weren’t the pick,” a source told Schefter.

That would take one team away from Belichick’s potential next stop. The Atlanta Falcons reportedly emerged as the first suitor for the former Patriots head coach, and there could be another team in the search for a new head coach depending on how the wild-card round plays out.

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