Patriots may have only wanted Matt Patricia because Lions were paying his salary


The New England Patriots might move on from former Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia.

With the Detroit Lions no longer paying Matt Patricia’s salary, the New England Patriots could be letting go of their de-facto offensive coordinator completely.

New England head coach Bill Belichick seems to have exploited a loophole in the system because, well, you know, The Patriot Way. By not officially naming Patricia the offensive coordinator in title, New England did not have to pay him as such. It also protected him from unnecessary criticism at the podium by the local media because he was not required by the NFL to hold press conferences.

But now that Patricia’s contract is coming off the books in Detroit, New England may just cut bait.

Why New England Patriots could move on from Matt Patricia this offseason

After losing long-time offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to the Las Vegas Raiders’ head-coaching gig, Belichick opted to bring back a pair of familiar faces into the building. These would be formerly fired head coaches Patricia (Lions) and Joe Judge (New York Giants). Patricia was let go after the 2020 NFL season, but served more in a front-office role for the Patriots two years ago.

Because Judge was only let go a year ago, there is a good chance the Giants are still paying to not coach for them. Now that the Lions no longer have to pay for Patricia’s No. 2 pencil and laminated playsheet combination, New England may not be inclined to pick up the bill for his services. This is why the Patriots have looked so long and hard at potentially replacing Patrick with … Bill O’Brien.

Prior to serving as the Penn State and Houston Texans head coach, the Alabama offensive coordinator was on Belichick’s Patriots staff, serving as the offensive coordinator during the three years McDaniels was coaching elsewhere. O’Brien had a great rapport with Tom Brady, which helped him get the Penn State gig. He also has Alabama ties with Patriots quarterback Mac Jones.

So you cannot really blame the Patriots for potentially making an upgrade at offensive coordinator here. Patricia has coached many position groups during his two stints in New England, but is best remembered for his coaching prowess on the defensive side of the ball. With all three of their division rivals trending up, Belichick and the New England brass know they cannot go cheap here.

As soon as Patricia’s salary comes off the books for the Lions, the Patriots will probably move on.

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