Growing number of Patriots refusals fuels conspiracy theories

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Bill Belichick always has a plan.

After inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower, right tackle Marcus Cannon, goaltender Patrick Chung, running back Brandon Bolden, fullback Danny Vitale and lineman Najee Toran all opted out of the 2020 season from the NFL amid coronavirus concerns, things have started to look grim for the Patriots season. . But a league executive who spoke to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday remains confident Belichick will find a way to make the situation work in his team’s favor.

“Bill is organizing all of this one way or another,” the source told Schefter via text.

A growing roster of NFL players have pulled out of the season – coincidentally as MLB deals with the Marlins coronavirus outbreak – although the trend has hit the Patriots organization disproportionately. According to CNN, New England churns account for about a third of all players retiring from the league.

” I do not know [what the reason is]! That’s why he is who he is! added the source.

With no further details, one possible interpretation (which many on social media have concluded) is that Belichick sees his team’s waning power as an organic way to find a successor to six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, which left via free agency in March, without having to tank intentionally.

The logical target – not just for the Patriots – would be Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. But with Heisman’s frontman set to be highly sought after and a favorite to be the No.1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the team should end the season with an abysmal record in a sweet AFC East to even stand a chance. to write it.

To lose intentionally would generally be anathema to the severe head coach, and the “Tank for Trevor” theory was quickly rejected by current and former players.

“No way to hell with the Belichick tanks this year,” former Patriots cornerback Darius Butler wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “Anyone who says that has never been around him!”

Chung rang the bell and tweeted Butler, “Whoever said that is stupid. ”

Belichick-ian or not, the reality is that the math has dramatically changed this offseason. The abandoned coach and de facto general manager must rebuild the dynasty he and Brady built during their 20-year run together, with a quarterback made up of Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer.

The team were unable to pursue a high-end quarterback during free agency due to salary cap limitations and ultimately signed Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP and former No. 1, to a minimum veteran deal in June.

If healthy, the 31-year-old’s double threat could add a lot to the Patriots’ offense, but Lawrence offers a more attractive long-term solution.

Lawrence, 20, led the Tigers to a national championship in 2019 as a rookie and has won numerous accolades to date, including 2017 USA Today High School Player of the Year, 2018 Rookie of the Year from the ACC, 2018 Cotton Bowl MVP, 2018 CFP National Championship MVP, 2019 All-ACC First Team and 2019 Fiesta Bowl MVP.

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