Ted, appreciate the time. As always, hope you're well. How do you react to that four-year report from earlier today?
Zach, it's good to talk to you, man. It's unbelievable covering this team. All of these kind of events that happen that you just kind of like shake your head at.
One comes right after the other, that comes right after the other. Just some of the stuff that you heard earlier in the week, last week at the owner's meeting, some of the things that Robert Kraft said with his time with the media and what Bill Belichick said with his time in the media earlier last week were just kind of throwing some flamethrowers at each other. Just taking shots, a lot of passive aggressiveness, not being on the same page. All the mess that happened last year with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, the utter disaster that that was, putting guys in a position to run their offense that had no business doing that. We saw how that blew up and the whole process from that point, Zach, of Robert Kraft jumping in and basically directing Bill to change the coordinators.
There's just been so many things that have happened that are so, what I would say, unpatriot-like. This one to me, this latest report from Mike Florio today is the biggest one of all because it just shows you the dysfunction that is really going on there in Foxboro. Not being on the same page and Bill Belichick, and I totally feel like this report is not fabricated. There's a lot of people choosing Mike Florio. Mike is a very reputable guy. When he says something like that, he doesn't say it without meaning it.
Today's news was kind of the icing on the cake as far as showing, I think, the dysfunction, showing what is going on behind the scenes. Robert Kraft feels one way about Mac Jones, which is he loves the kid. He's going on record saying that Bill Belichick, very noncommittal in his feelings towards Mac and really about his future here. The news that came out today that Bell has been shopping him around is, I think, you wonder if this is something Mac can ever really come back from, and you just wonder if this is going to be very much a divisive upcoming season for both Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick. With how you just laid it out, if Bill misses the playoffs this year, do you think he's back coaching the team a year from now?
Yep, that's one of the biggest questions, and my answer to that is you have to see how it looks versus Zach. I don't think him missing the playoffs, honestly, will put his job in jeopardy too much. If they go 8-9, 9-8, they went 8-9 this year, if they go 9-8 next year and still don't get into the playoffs, and Mac looks like he did, he bounced back from what was a disaster last year and the offense looked confident, and there's just nothing major, maybe glaring, they just didn't have, you know, if they just lost a game here or there, if it looks like that, you have to remember, Zach, that the biggest kind of thing hanging over this team right now is the record for most wins in the NFL by a head coach, and that's Don Shula, and Bill Belichick is 19 wins away from reaching, excuse me, 18 wins away from reaching Don Shula, 19 wins to pass him, and Zach, I am telling you, and it's been reported by a ton of guys here, Mike Giardi, NFL Network, and others, that that is a very important record for Bill Belichick to achieve, and so, and the feeling is that Robert Kraft doesn't want to be the guy that fires the coach that won six Super Bowls here, just, you know, 9, 10, 11 games shy of breaking Don Shula's record, and so the feeling is, it's this record that is hanging out there that is kind of, you know, the reason that this dysfunction and this, what it looks like for all of us on the outside, what's been a very frayed relationship, not only between Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick, but between Bill Belichick and Mac Jones, that that thing, that breaking that Don Shula's record is the one thing that's keeping this all together, and of course, you can have your opinion on if whether or not that's worth it at the end of the day, but that's kind of the thinking around here.
Ted Johnson here with us. Here's another thing I don't get. Why Robert Kraft last week said, oh, Meek Mill texted him, and I know they had the connection with Michael Rubin and said that Lamar Jackson wants to be a patriot, and then that was Robert saying, oh, but at the end of the day, it's up to Bill. Like that was weird to me how much Robert said he's like Mac Jones, but then throwing Lamar Jackson out there wouldn't add up if you actually do like Mac Jones as much as you're saying. That's exactly right.
That's exactly right. And so I think I think he loves Mac Jones. I don't think he was doing. I think he inadvertently are.
You said that without thinking about the impact on what it would have on Mac. And really, there's just maybe a couple, a couple really maybe explanations for it. But you talk about one of them is that it's kind of been a sensitive issue with the higher ups. And basically, I think both Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft as far as kind of who does, you know, who runs the money? Does Robert Kraft put restraints on Bill when it comes to bringing in top dollar guys? And the narrative is that Robert Kraft is stingy with his money, that he's cheap, that he doesn't want to pay for big contracts. And so, you know, he, he, but he doesn't want to take the blame for that. He doesn't want that to, you know, people to think that about him. And so he went on, he goes on the record and says, Yeah, you know, I was meat mill said that Lamar Jackson wants to play for us.
And I wouldn't get in the way. That's a bill decision. He's basically saying that if Bill wants, you know, Lamar Jackson, then that's on bill, when everybody knows. That's an ownership decision, Zack, I mean, you're gonna bring in a guy with all that guaranteed money and everything that comes with Lamar Jackson, trading draft equity and emerging the future, that you know, the owner has to get involved.
So that was a that was kind of what the feeling is. It was a cheap shot. The only conclusion I can say that he was doing that really, is more about vanity. I think Robert Kraft, the team has had two losing seasons in the last three years. He's not, you know, the Patriots get flexed out of primetime games.
They don't get put in primetime slots anymore. They're not the you know, the belle of the ball anymore. And that's Robert Kraft, more than anything, ego vanity, whatever you want to call it him saying, Look, we got guys like Lamar Jackson that still want to play here to me at the end of the day.
That's really what it was. But I think it really kind of backfired him and he's probably regretting ever saying it. You know what, Ted, I haven't thought about this until now. But when you were speaking, it triggered a thought Ted Johnson here with us. We all know the owners don't want to give Lamar a fully guaranteed contract. So I actually think that is more telling that Bill is not interested in Lamar Jackson, because at least Robert Kraft who knows he can't give a fully guaranteed contract because you'd upset the other owners. And that's what Lamar wants you to think.
That's him saying, I'm interested to put up the front that this isn't collusion may be going on with all the other owners. But then it's really telling, knowing that it's that Bill at the end of the day would not go for Lamar Jackson anyway. Yeah, you know, and you know, the main reason that Bill Belichick won't go after Lamar, I think the number one reason more than anything is what he costs. And you sit there go, well, Bill's not writing the checks.
But what people don't realize, and it's not a, it's just, it's just something you start to get this sense. Everybody's talking about Bill's legacy, Bill's legacy, and he wants to name the successor and he wants to set it up for the next guy to have success is that Bill thinks he is the Patriots. I mean, I think he really thinks he is the so he doesn't have one player on his roster that makes over $20 million.
Bill loves that he is an economics major, he go you go back to school, he's very much into having a team that doesn't make hasn't have one guy that you got to really stretch for. The thinking is that Bill Belichick makes around, you know, we think we don't know, but it's reported anywhere from 20 million to 25 million. But Bill Belichick never wanted to resign Tom Brady to a two year 50,000 or $50 million contract because it would be he would be making more than Bill. So there's nobody on this roster that has a higher salary than Bill Belichick. And Bill for Bill to bring in Lamar Jackson, you have to pay him a hell of a lot more than he pays that he then he gets paid.
And a lot of us are you know that you know, know the situation feel like he would never do that. Because that's how Bill thinks he thinks he's the most important person on the team, not not the player. And that's I think the biggest problem when you get into this chapter of life without Brady, whether it's crass fault, whether it's Belichick's fault, or a mixture of both. For so many years, they could cut corners and not pay players because you had number 12 there. Now when you have Mac Jones, you got to do what the bills the Dolphins and the Eagles have done for their young quarterback and pay a wide receiver ridiculous amount of money because even though they brought in Bill O'Brien this year, Ted Johnson, which is great. What else do they really have in the offensive side of the ball that really intimidates if you're a defender? Not much.
Yeah, no, no, they absolutely don't have much. And you're absolutely right. It's almost as if Bill Belichick still runs this team as if Tom Brady is his quarterback.
It's amazing. It's, I mean, and that's that shows you the hubris I think in the arrogance and the and it just kind of shows you like, Bill just never wanted to give Tom his his credit. And he really, you know, he really wanted Tom, he pushed Tom out so that he could prove to everybody that it was more about him. And that those that his legacy is so tied to Tom Brady, and he wanted to change that narrative. Well, all he's done once he once he did, he didn't give Tom a really nice, it really was an insulting offer, and nothing close to what market value was. And he got rid of Tom, he completely exposed himself and all those things you're talking about. Bill is it hasn't changed over the years, really. I mean, he's got a little bit more insular and a little bit more insecure and a little bit more paranoid.
But he's always kind of been that but you didn't hear of a lot of this stuff. Because he can make mistakes with with coaching staff with players all the time, piss guys off. But it didn't matter because you had Tom Brady. Now that he doesn't have Tom Brady, the ecosystem is completely different.
He doesn't have anybody to use as an example of here's a guy that's great at what he does, but he takes less money for to sacrifice for the team, yada, yada, yada. He can't hide all these tenants and kind of methodologies that bill has been pushing forever. They're all being exposed now that Tom's not here and you can see the pressures kind of getting to him and he's just he's getting a little bit more untrustworthy in a little bit more insular as time is gone on here. He's just I think he's feeling the pressures that and the thing that surprised me the most where you kind of break the Belichick character. And I've seen a former a few former players comment on this when he was asked something along the lines at the meetings.
Why should Patriot fans still trust you? And he's like the last 25 years. You know that as a player, Bill doesn't care about the previous championships.
You know, he doesn't reference the previous years of success. Correct. That was that was that was I think that was one of the most revealing kind of answers. And it's interesting to me, like, I am not surprised when people go, Are you surprised? This is Bill.
Bill said this. I'm like, that's the only thing I'm surprised. I'm not. I'm not surprised that he thinks that way. I'm not surprised that he thinks, you know, hey, they, you know, this team's got me.
And if I'm here, don't worry about anything else. I got this last 25 years. That that that arrogance and hubris has has always been there. But for him to kind of slip and show his hand, he's usually a lot more careful about it. And it just feels like the older he gets, he's 71 years old. Don't forget that he's he's kind of I don't know, he's just not on top of it. It's just not a button down situation. And the dysfunction is just starting to really reveal itself. And it's like him or craft with the unique bill comment.
It's like they don't even realize what they're saying sometimes and how it's going to be perceived. And it's, it's just not good, man. Last thing I'll ask you, Ted Johnson, even with all that we just said about the money, you know how much Bill Belichick still to this day hates the Jets, the Jets look like they're going to land Aaron Rodgers.
It's not official yet. They haven't been able to figure out the trade with the Packers with this for your report that they've shot Mac Jones this offseason. Do you think there's any chance that bill one more time gives the middle finger to the Jets and finds a way to get Rogers to Foxborough? Love it. Love the conspiracy theory.
It's a really good one. You know, there's a lot of things that I think Bill could kind of, you know, shove it where the sun don't shine, so to speak, to a lot of people by bringing Aaron Rodgers and one being Brady, one being Mac, you know, and then and then, of course, the Jets. Yeah, you're absolutely right. He hates the Jets. I don't think I really don't think that would happen because, you know, Bill loves Aaron Rodgers. It's the contract, Zach.
It always goes back to the money with Bill. There's so many freaking great players that the Patriots are kind of connected to and rumored to be interested of. And it never really comes to fruition hardly ever because of the money. I mean, the rumor is that they offered, you know, Odell Beckham like six million dollars a year. Well, Odell Beckham is not going to take that. Like, if you want a great player, you got to pay him.
They're so reluctant. They got to have the win the deal every time they got to get to the contract that is value where you don't overextend. And Aaron Rodgers, his contract is just it. It would be a contract that would be so out of character for the Patriots to do.
And I think both whether in craft doesn't want to ever admit it. He always wants to put claim, Bill, that he's the one that has the decision. But when it comes to a contract like what Aaron Rodgers has right now and all that guaranteed money, there's just I can't ever imagine Bill signing that that are wanting to sign that contract. And neither could I see Kraft being on board for that. And so I think that's ultimately why Aaron will come here, because they will not pay premium for premium players.
And you're seeing what that's been resulted in. Honestly, the only two big contracts I remember Bill handed out is the dailiest Thomas, which was a disaster. And then Stefan Gilmore, which which clearly did work for them. That's it.
But it's two guys from outside. And there were there were in-house candidates, you know, for both of those positions that were, you know, OK, Bill's going to bill, bill go out and pay like the Stefan Gilmore over Malcolm Butler. It was it's just one of those kind of things where you're just like, wow, you know, Bill's just he would rather pay somebody who's it's kind of like the exact same dynamic this year with Jacoby Myers. Bill, I heard, gave him a very insulting offers, basically, you know, saying we don't want you anymore. He would rather, you know, pay a Juju Smith Schuster who he doesn't know anything about.
Yeah, you can see his production in Kansas City was last year was great. And, you know, but you don't know how he's going to come into this system and this culture and react when you already had a proven commodity in Jacoby Myers. But yet Jacoby pissed you off because he was too outspoken and he sided with Max. So you don't want to sign him, but you'll find this other guy from from the from another team who was a productive player, a good player.
But you don't know how he's going to fit in your system. That's that's how Bill is. He would rather pay the guys from the outside than keep his own for for his, you know, for reasons that are probably really, you know, immature and petulant. And that's just that's kind of how he's operated. And he could always get away with it before, because, like you mentioned, he had Tom Brady. Now he doesn't.
And so now everybody's scrutinizing these types of decisions that he's making, that's failing, that he's really, quite frankly, he's been doing this whole 20 year span, but just never being exposed because he had Tom Brady. Ted Johnson, appreciate the time as always. Thank you so much. OK, Zach, you go, man.
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