Bill Belikik always has a plan.
After domestic player Dont’a Hightower, right-wrestler Marcus Cannon, defender Patrick Chung, running back Brandon Bolden, full-back Danny Vitale and Lyman Naji Toran gave up the NFL 2020 season amid coronavirus problems, things started to look like Patriots season, but the league leader, who spoke to ESPN’s Adam Shefter on Tuesday, remains confident that Belihik will find a way to make the situation work for his team.
“Bill is mastering all this in some way,” the source told Schefter in a text message.
A growing list of players in the NFL has bowed out of season – coincidentally, while MLB is dealing with Marlins̵
“I do not know [what the reason is]!! That is why he is who he is! The source added.
Without further details, one possible interpretation (which many on social media have concluded) is that Belicik sees his team’s declining star power as an organic way to find a successor to six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, who left through a free agency in March without has to be booked intentionally.
The logical target – not just for the Patriots – would be Clemson, defender Trevor Lawrence. But with expectations of a Heisman frontman who will be in high demand and a favorite to be chosen №1 in the 2021 NFL draft, the team will have to finish the season with an odd record in the soft AFC East to even have a chance to draw.
Deliberate loss would usually be an anathema to the stern coach, and Trevor’s Tank theory was quickly repulsed by current and former players.
“There’s no way in hell Belichick tanks this year,” former Patriots defender Darius Butler wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “Anyone who says he’s never been around this man!”
Chung shouted and tweeted Butler, “Who said he was dumb.”
Belikik-ian or not, the reality is that the calculation has significantly displaced this off-season. The worn-out coach and de facto general manager must restore the dynasty he and Brady built in their 20-year run together, with a sneaking hall consisting of Cam Newton, Jarrett Stedham and Brian Hoyer.
The team failed to get a discount on tickets during a free agency due to salary cap restrictions and eventually signed Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP and former No. 1, to a minimum veteran deal in June.
If healthy, the 31-year-old double threat could bring a lot to the Patriots crime, but Lawrence offers a more attractive long-term solution.
Lawrence, 20, led the Tigers to the 2019 National Championships as a freshman and has won a host of awards to date, including USA Today’s High School Player of the Year, 2018 ACC Rookie of the Year, 2018 Cotton Bowl MVP, 2018 CFP National MVP Championship, 2019 First Team All-ACC and 2019 Fiesta Bowl MVP.