Bill Belichick's secret contract extension gives Patriots the nuclear option

Bill Belichick's secret contract extension means he's likely not going anywhere this season, barring a potential trade from the New England Patriots.

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots
Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Free Bill Belichick? The New England Patriots agreed to a contract extension with their head coach/general manager prior to the start of the season. This was previously unknown, but reported by Ian Rapoport at NFL Network this morning.

New England entered the week 1-5 on the season, with many fans wondering if Belichick has lost his touch, or could at least relinquish some power.

"His contract [is] one of the most closely held secrets in New England. That said, I think it's fair to say there was some, at least, uncertainty or intrigue surrounding him," Rapoport explained. "Now, contractually, he is locked up long-term."

While the decision to extend Belichick may seem odd in retrospect, the legendary coach is nearing several career milestones that could help ticket and merchandise sales in an otherwise tough couple of seasons.

Belichick is just one win away from his 300th all time, and is 30 wins away from passing Don Shula for first on the all-time list.

There's only one way out for Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

Considering their lack of financial flexibility in this case, Bill Belichick essentially controls his own destiny with the Patriots. While Robert Kraft could ask Belichick to relinquish his front office role and focus solely on coaching, it's up to the head coach/GM whether he wants to give in.

The only easy way out for both sides would be a trade. Belichick is a legendary coach, but his work as general manager the last few years has left much to be desired. The Patriots draft classes have failed to deliver much young, affordable talent, and Belichick hasn't faired much better in free agency.

No one is question Belichick's ability as a head coach, but unless the Pats drastically improve the on-field product, it seems unlikely Kraft won't at least consider his options.

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