NFL rumors: Bill Belichick could follow in Tom Brady's footsteps and head south

Going to the NFC South was good for Tom Brady. Maybe Bill Belichick takes a page out of the TB12 playbook? Here is why the New England Patriots head coach could echo Brady's sentiments soon.

Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots / Rich Barnes/GettyImages
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When people get old, they move south. The winters aren't as bad and the blue plate specials taste so good right before happy hour. It's five o'clock somewhere whenever you're living that sweet AARP life. But for those like Bill Belichick, there is always work to be done. Could the Ebenezer Scrooge of the AFC East head south for not just the winter, but for the swan song of his NFL coaching career?

Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reported on Thursday that a mutual parting of ways between Belichick and the New England Patriots is starting to pick up steam. Both parties may want to start over fresh. New England will have a top-five pick in a loaded quarterback draft. As for Belichick, he is only 15 wins away from eclipsing the late, great Don Shula for the most regular-season wins of all time.

While Belichick has been linked to the Los Angeles Chargers' vacancy for a little while now, Anderson believes that the entire NFC South division could be interested in bringing in The Hoodie. Where things stand now, only the Carolina Panthers have a coaching vacancy. As for the Atlanta Falcons, the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, none of these teams possess a winning record.

Arthur Smith's seat in Atlanta is the hottest, but there is a chance New Orleans could move on from Dennis Allen, as could Tampa Bay from Todd Bowles. So much is riding on the regular-season finales.

Of the four NFC South teams, one is unlike the others, and that is the one who would hire Belichick.

NFL rumors: Bill Belichick tied to NFC South jobs if he leaves the Patriots

Of the four NFC South teams, the least likely place I could see Belichick going is the Buccaneers. Bowles is fine as a head coach, but Tampa Bay seems to have found something interesting in Baker Mayfield at quarterback. Maybe he could work playing for Belichick? To me, I think the Patriots' offensive ineptitude could do a number on Mayfield's NFL career, one that he has just reclaimed.

The next team I would cross off entertaining hiring Belichick would be Atlanta. To date, owner Arthur Blank has never hired a head coach with NFL head-coaching experience. The last guy to lead the Falcons with prior NFL head-coaching experience was the late, great Dan Reeves. Blank kicked him to the curb after the disastrous 2003 season to hire Jim Mora, who went kaputt three seasons later.

And while I don't think the Saints would hire Belichick, they do have the infrastructure to sustain some level of transition. What Sean Payton ran and what Belichick would run would be vastly different. I am not buying into this potential fit either, although I think inheriting Derek Carr at quarterback would be something Belichick would at least entertain. Truthfully, I don't think ownership is going to do this.

And, of course, we have arrived at the Panthers. They are owned by the drink-slinging, hedge-fund extraordinaire known as David Tepper. He has become the worst owner in recent months, ever since Josh Harris bought the Washington Commanders from Daniel Snyder. Tepper would absolutely pay a premium to let Belichick coach his awful monstrosity of a football team. They do have Bryce Young...

To me, I think if Belichick was going to go somewhere other than New England, it would be Los Angeles to coach the Bolts. The land of In-N-Out is much more forgiving when it comes to learning a new menu than the land of Chick-fil-A, Cookout, Raising Canes or Outback. Well, maybe not Canes, but you get what I'm saying, right? The Chargers have Justin Herbert, and the NFC South does not...

Belichick may head south anyway, but the Pacific may be more appealing than the Atlantic or the Gulf.

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