Nick Caley looked like the favorite to replace Bill O’Brien as the New England Patriots offensive coordinator.

And then he wasn’t.

The Patriots on Thursday announced they hired Alex Van Pelt as O’Brien’s replacement. Caley, who reportedly was a finalist one day prior, didn’t land the job. It came as a bit of a surprise after ESPN’s Mike Reiss and others reported Caley was “well-positioned” to lead New England’s offense.

Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard reported Caley’s candidacy might have come to a halt because the 41-year-old’s contract demands were too rich. Bedard also wrote Van Pelt felt like a “last-man-standing sort of deal.”

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” … Everyone else had options, including Nick Caley, who appeared to be the leading candidate for a while,” Bedard wrote on Sunday. “Did he ask for too much money, even more than Bill O’Brien earned, to leave Sean McVay’s staff and LA, where his family was enjoying life? That was the prevalent rumor at the Senior Bowl.”

Caley, currently the Los Angeles Rams tight ends coach, is very familiar with the Patriots organization. Caley served on Bill Belichick’s staff for eight seasons before he left for LA in 2023. Caley could serve a bigger role for the Rams this season after quarterbacks coach/pass-game coordinator Zac Robinson departed for the Atlanta Falcons.

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As far as Van Pelt, the veteran assistant has been lauded as an outstanding culture guy. He was fired by the Cleveland Browns after the 2023 campaign, though many believe Van Pelt was dealt a raw deal given Cleveland’s string of injuries.

Featured image via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images