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Atlanta Falcons Hire Raheem Morris; What’s Next for Bill Belichick?



New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick

Former New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has been linked to the Atlanta Falcons opening since his departure from Foxboro. Belichick interviewed twice with Atlanta, the only opening he is known to have interviewed for. But on Thursday the Falcons announced their next head coach will be Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.

Raheem Morris has been a member of two Super Bowl-winning coaching staffs. He was a defensive quality assistant with the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Morris was also the defensive coordinator for the 2021 Los Angeles Rams. He also worked with the Falcons previously (2015-to-2020).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales landed the Carolina Panthers job earlier in the day. That leaves only two head coach vacancies remaining. The Seattle Seahawks and Washington Commanders both have head coach positions to fill.

What’s Next for Bill Belichick?

Belichick is not believed to be a candidate for either remaining opening. So where does this leave the legendary coach for 2024? Either franchise could still reach out to Belichick for an interview, though rumors indicate the Washington Commanders have already found their man in Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. It is also possible that another team without a vacancy could still try to hire Bill Belichick as head coach.

Mike Lombardi stated on his podcast, The GM Shuffle, that he was aware of an NFL team interested in Bill Belichick being their head coach, but they didn’t have a vacancy. The problem is that any team interested in Belichick would technically need to fire their current head coach before beginning the interview process. Perhaps now that Belichick is not getting the Atlanta job, a team might be willing to take that risk.

The other option, assuming Bill Belichick isn’t ready to go quietly into retirement, is a television gig. Belichick would be a hot commodity as a studio analyst in the broadcasting market if he is interested in doing so.

For now, Belichick is on the outside looking in on the 2024 NFL season. But is the franchise Lombardi was referencing now ready to make a move? And if so, who could it be? Buffalo, Dallas, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Jacksonville would seem to be among the potential candidates for his services. There is also speculation that Kansas City’s Andy Reid could be considering retirement. Would the Chiefs be interested in bringing in Bill Belichick? Stay tuned.

Effect on the New England Patriots

The hiring of Raheem Morris does have a potential effect on the New England Patriots. Rams QB Coach was considered a favorite for the Patriots offensive coordinator job, though it is now possible he follows Morris to Atlanta. Another OC candidate in New England, Nick Caley, was also on the staff with Morris in Los Angeles.

Although Atlanta’s move seems to have eliminated a candidate in Zac Robinson, it could also add a few coaches back into the mix for New England. Josh McDaniels was expected to join Bill Belichick at his next stop as offensive coordinator. With Belichick’s next stop now unknown (or even if there will be one) McDaniels becomes an intriguing candidate for the New England Patriots opening, which he has previously held on two occasions.

Also, Jerod Mayo confirmed that both Steve Belichick and Brian Belichick were invited to remain with the Patriots if they did not opt to follow their father. With Bill Belichick still unemployed, a return of the Belichick brothers to Foxboro remains in play. Will Steve Belichick get an interview for the vacant defensive coordinator job?

The New England Patriots do not have a coaching staff at the moment beyond head coach Jerod Mayo. With all of the head coach openings starting to settle, this should be resolved soon. As for Bill Belichick, the unlikely scenario of an NFL season without him for the first time in a half-century suddenly looks like a legitimate possibility.