Only Bill Belichick truly knows how miserable he was watching what any rational observer would conclude was the worst nightmare of his GOAT career:
Tom Brady wins his seventh Super Bowl without him. Belichick does not win his seventh Super Bowl without Tom Brady. Does not even make the playoffs.
If Belichick didn’t read or listen to the hot takes about Brady meaning more to the dynasty than Belichick, you better believe someone close to him did. But he probably did.
And maybe it’s a coincidence that Belichick was driven into a free-agent frenzy on Monday that was as out of character for him as making a TikTok video.
This was the day you could call him BeliCHECK.
Patience is often a virtue in free agency, and Joe Douglas and the Jets, who started the day with as much money as Belichick did, were patient early (LB Jarrad Davis) until striking for WR Corey Davis (3 years, $37.5M, $27M guaranteed) a very good signing of a player coming off a career year for whomever the quarterback will be, and DE Carl Lawson (3 years, $45M, $30M guaranteed), an emerging pass rusher (32 QB hits last season) who had 8.5 sacks as a rookie in 2017.
BeliCheck turned into George Steinbrenner on steroids.
“Look like we out for blood,” new OT Trent Brown tweeted.
BeliCheck back with a vengeance.
Maybe BeliCheck would have spent his $65 million or so in cap space come hell or high expectations anyway.
Or maybe another conclusion should be reached:
Hell hath no fury than a GOAT scorned.
For those who wrote the Death Of A Dynasty obituary, I advise you to kill it.
There are no guarantees, of course, that a free-agent gold rush can fix all that ails a franchise, because there are plenty of examples where it doesn’t work out when your eyes are bigger than your stomach. But the league, and the AFC East, were placed on notice Monday:
Bill Belichick means business.
The key to the Patriots’ revival will be Cam Newton, who will be better with better health and a better supporting cast, and BeliCheck got him the kind of athletic TE in Jonnu Smith (4 years, $50 million, $31.25 million guaranteed) that Brady would have welcomed to replace Rob Gronkowski. His 41-488-8 TDs last season were career highs, and he doesn’t turn 26 until August.
Then he got himself a legitimate, coveted pass rusher in Matt Judon (4 years, $56 million, $32 million guaranteed). Judon will be 29 in August. He has recorded 34.5 sacks over five years.
BeliCheck added versatile CB/S Jalen Mills, although four years, $24 million, $9 million guaranteed seems expensive for a guy with five career interceptions in five seasons, two since 2018, and green hair. He will serve as insurance with age at safety and the possibility of CB Stephon Gilmore being traded.
BeliCheck absolutely had to upgrade the wide receiver position and had a need for speed, and versatile Kendrick Bourne (3 years, $22.5M), who will only be 26 in August, was a good catch coming off a career year (49-667-2 TDs) in San Francisco.
But Nelson Agholor, who will be 28 in May, seemed a bit pricey at two years, $26 million, even if he stretched the field (18.7 yards per catch) last year for Jon Gruden. And Derek Carr’s AB rating was 100.5 targeting Agholor last season.
NT Davon Godchaux (2 years, $16 million, $9 million guaranteed) is a much-needed run-stuffer and only 26 on opening day.
And just for good measure, just because he felt like it, BeliCheck added former Jets DL Henry Anderson on a two-year deal.
BeliCheck did lose G Joe Thuney to the Chiefs, who were desperate (5 years, $80 million, $32.5 million guaranteed) to protect Patrick Mahomes following the release of tackles Eric Fisher and Matthew Schwartz.
2020 was a rebuilding season, with young draftees ready to blossom. But the message was nevertheless sent: BeliCheck wants his division title back from the Bills.
BeliCheck wants to chase his seventh Super Bowl like there is no tomorrow. And at age 68, there aren’t all that many tomorrow’s left for him.
Only Tom Brady is Forever Young.
So for BeliCheck, The Future Is Now. 2020 was a rebuilding season, with young draftees ready to blossom, and LB Dont’a Hightower back after opting out.
And if BeliCheck can coach all these free agents up, and get a rebound from Newton, maybe we will see him again on Super Sunday.
And you know he’d like nothing better on Super Sunday than to beat Tom Brady.