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Chandler Jones

(Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Ranking The Top 10 Belichick Decisions That Killed The Patriots Dynasty

Chandler Jones
Ranking the top 10 Belichick decisions that killed the Patriots dynasty (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

The Patriots dynasty is officially over… for now. We will probably never see this kind of run from a franchise in any sport again. 20 years of just pissing excellence. The Tom Brady – Bill Belichick duo might never be duplicated. Belichick is the greatest head coach ever but maybe the worst personnel guy ever. New England just doesn’t have any good players and it’s a miracle they’re even this good. Tom Brady is cooked and the Patriots have no young building blocks. What 10 decisions lead to the Patriots dynasty ending?

10: Offensive Line Deterioration

The offensive line really crippled the Patriots. Some of this is bad luck. David Andrews got hit with blood clots. New England then gave up a 6th round pick for Russell Bodine and cut him. Classic Patriots move. Trade low round pick and then cut the guy anyway. The Patriots had a huge hole at center.

Trent Brown left for the Raiders and that hurt (he did get overpaid so I got why they moved on). Isaiah Wynn is really more of a guard and had to play tackle. He didn’t play poorly, but when he got injured, Marshall Newhouse got killed all year. This wasn’t the same offensive line as years past.

9: Trading For Mohamed Sanu

The Mohamed Sanu trade was dumb from the start. After releasing Antonio Brown, the Patriots have been desperate for a wide receiver. Giving up a 2nd round pick for Sanu was so stupid. Sanu has never had a 1,000 yard season in the NFL. Why are you giving up a 2nd round pick for a 30 year old who’s more of a number 3? Sanu never flourished in New England and was never the solution to their problem. Outside of Sanu attending Rutgers, this move never made sense.

8: Drafting Sony Michel Over Nick Chubb

During the latter stages of Tom Brady’s career, the Patriots leaned on the running game more and more. They went all in on that plan when they drafted Sony Michel in the first round one of the 2018 NFL Draft. They went with the running back out of Georgia. The problem is they picked the wrong running back from Georgia.

Nick Chubb and Sony Michel split time at Georgia. Michel was more of the complete back who could run and catch. Chubb was the higher upside pick who we were just waiting for him to recapture his true Freshman year prior to his horrific knee injury. It turns out the elite version of Chubb returned with the Browns.

Chubb is one of the best running backs in the NFL. Michel is just an ok back. It’s hard to tell whether they’re better with Rex Burkhead in the backfield. If the Patriots draft Chubb, maybe they can run their way to another title.

7: Drafting N’Keal Harry

I’m going to keep going back to the receiver thing, because it’s clear New England lacked weapons. The Patriots couldn’t move the ball all year. The decision to draft N’Keal Harry is classic Bill Belichick. He’s never drafted this position well. Aaron Dobson, Chad Jackson, Taylor Price, Josh Boyce, etc. All busts. Find me the good receiver Belichick has drafted outside of getting lucky with 7th round quarterback Julian Edelman.

Picking N’Keal Harry in the first round was laughable. He doesn’t create any separation and he’s not super explosive. I’m not sure how Belichick saw him and thought this is a first round talent. In a draft where Deebo Samuel, AJ Brown, and DK Metcalf, the other teams that passed for other options are paying the price.

Patriots Dynasty
(Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

6: Failing to Replace Rob Gronkowski

When Rob Gronkowski retired, I figured New England would do everything possible to draft his replacement or sign somebody. Belichick ignored it altogether. You can’t go into a playoff game with Ben Watson as a starter. Watson was out of the league, washed, and retired.

It’s not like the Patriots didn’t have options. Irv Smith would have been perfect. Even a guy like Dawson Knox in the 4th round would have done wonders. Nope, Belichick just refused to take any of them. Tom Brady loves his tight ends and Belichick never gave him one this year.

5: Brandin Cooks Swap

The history books will never remember this one but the Brandin Cooks swap was horrible. New England first gave up a first round pick to acquire Cooks. The Saints turned that pick into Ryan Ramczyk who is probably the best right tackle in the sport. Yikes. New England then traded Cooks for a first rounder the next year and winds up with Isaiah Wynn. Significant downgrade that would have given the Patriots an elite offensive lineman otherwise.

4: 2017 NFL Draft

Bill Belichick is the greatest coach ever. Drafting players? Terrible. His 2017 NFL Draft will go down as historically bad. Giving up a first round pick for Brandin Cooks was beyond dumb. He then swapped the 64th pick for the 72nd pick and Kony Ealy. Ealy was later cut by New England before ever playing a game. Carolina took Taylor Moton who rocks. New England wound up with Derek Rivers who stinks.

There’s a reason why New England had one Pro Bowler this year. Dont’a Hightower. He’s the last successful draft pick New England has had. That came in 2012. This Patriots roster stinks. It’s not hard to tell why. The fact that Belichik has this team in the playoffs is a miracle and shows how great of a COACH he is. The Patriots dynasty will die because they have no good players. Not just Tom Brady getting older.

Even when he did make a successful pick (Jacoby Brissett and Trey Flowers) he either gave them away or let them walk in free agency. There is a formula here. Draft terrible players. On the one occasion, they pick a good player, Belichick lets him go. Even a guy like Michael Bennett who was supposed to be the Trey Flowers replacement, he gave him away too. Belichick has started giving away the replacements for the replacement.

3: Chandler Jones Trade

Chandler Jones is probably the best current pass rusher on the planet. New England does not get after the quarterback with any success. Playing coverage? Yes, New England has that down. Rushing the passer? Not enough talented players to do so. What if I told you that Chandler Jones was a Patriot? What if I told you that Belichick gave him away for peanuts. The Raiders traded Khalil Mack for two first round picks. The Patriots traded Chandler Jones for a second round pick and a bust guard, Jonathan Cooper.

NOBODY has more sacks than Chandler Jones over the past 5 years. NOBODY. That’s while playing in Arizona with his team rarely having a lead in 4th quarters which heavily impacts sack production. Joe Thuney and Malcolm Mitchell. That’s what the Patriots got for Chandler Jones. It will go down as the New England’s worst total miss ever during the Patriots dynasty.

2: Jimmy Garoppolo Trade

Now I can’t kill Bill for this one. He wanted to keep Jimmy Garoppolo. The Patriots did win a Super Bowl with Brady after the Jimmy G deal, but Blake Bortles could have outdueled Jared Goff in that Super Bowl. Jimmy Garoppolo has changed the 49ers outlook and turned them into Super Bowl contender after having the 2nd pick in the draft the year he was hurt. There is no question Garoppolo is a franchise quarterback.

New England gave up what should have been the Tom Brady successor for a second round pick. After a series of trade downs, the Jimmy G trade turned into Duke Dawson, Joejuan Williams, Damien Harris, Christian Sam and Byron Cowart. Not a single player had made an impact for the team. It’s one thing to trade Garoppolo. It’s another to get nothing back. Exactly what they did with the Jacoby Brissett trade getting back just Phillip Dorsett who is virtually a bust.

1: Never Finding Tom Brady Replacement

This is the tricky one. The Patriots dynasty officially ends if they don’t find a Tom Brady successor. The Patriots shouldn’t want Brady back. If he wants to play, let him go play for somebody else. He was cooked this year and he’s going to be burnt next year. Find the next Tom Brady successor. If that doesn’t happen, the dynasty is over. Tom Brady has been with New England for 20 years. New England drafted a quarterback in 10 of them. Jimmy Garoppolo is the only one who panned out into a franchise guy and New England gave him away. Now we find out what the Patriots are really made of.


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