Scott Zolak believes the fact Mike Vrabel now is on the open market could prompt the New England Patriots to change course on what many figured to be their replacement plan for Bill Belichick.

It long was expected Jerod Mayo would replace Belichick when the future Hall of Famer exited New England. Patriots owner Robert Kraft even said he would like Mayo to be the next Patriots coach. However, that was thought to be a year or two away after Belichick set the NFL wins record. And almost nobody believed Vrabel would be available in coaching free agency at the same time.

Zolak, the former Patriots quarterback and current team broadcaster, believes those within the confines of One Patriot Place prefer Vrabel over Mayo.

“I know how they think down there,” Zolak said on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Zolak & Bertrand” on Tuesday. “I think this is bad for Mayo.

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“I think this is the one thing that could have popped up, you probably didn’t think was going to happen and pop up,” Zolak continued, “… Then the news breaks and it’s like, ‘Who we got?’ How you want to do this?'”

Zolak said he personally would take Vrabel over Mayo, as well.

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Belichick remains under contract with the Patriots, and it doesn’t seem the longtime Patriots head coach will be doing any mutual parting of ways. That means Kraft will have to fire Belichick, who won six Super Bowls for the organization, if he wants to hire Vrabel or elevate Mayo.

The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin reported in November that Kraft viewed Vrabel as a “home run pick” to replace Belichick.

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Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz on Tuesday reported there will be “mutual interest” between both the Patriots and Vrabel should New England move on from Belichick. ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported Wednesday the decision on Belichick is “completely independent” of Vrabel.

Featured image via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images