New England Patriots

Josh McDaniels has spurned the Colts – and by extension, the rest of the National Football League – to stay with the Patriots. You’d think that his new agreement would include a guarantee to succeed Bill Belichick as head coach.

Apparently not.

According to a new column by SI’s Peter King, McDaniels’ deal to stay in New England has “no written assurance” that he would be the next head coach of the Patriots once Belichick decides to walk away. The “Rooney Rule”, which requires NFL teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching jobs, does not apply here, because a team can contractually guarantee a future position if no other interviews take place.

If King’s report is accurate, then McDaniels is taking the biggest risk of his professional life to go for 3-5 more shots at a Super Bowl trip with Tom Brady.

King corroborates other reports that the Patriots made a big final push to retain McDaniels on Tuesday at Gillette Stadium, when the offensive coordinator arrived to clean out his office ahead of moving on to the Colts’ head coaching job. He also reported that Belichick was a big part of the negotiation with McDaniels, not just Robert Kraft.

The Belichick component indicates one or both of these things: 1) He, like the Krafts, want to keep Tom Brady happy after the quarterback gave arguably his best Super Bowl performance ever but got fell short due to the team’s worst defensive performance of the season; and 2) Belichick knows that the Patriots will need to win on offense over the next 1-2 years as they rebuild the defense. Because it’s pretty clear that they have issues that go deeper than just the impending loss of Malcolm Butler, and the team doesn’t have time to replace McDaniels with a new offensive coordinator as Brady hits the final stretch (maybe? Who knows anymore) of his career.

McDaniels is all in on the Patriots, but it’s curious that the Patriots are not quite all-in on him as the next head coach – and that McDaniels is apparently fine with that.

“Biggest Professional Mistake Of His Career”

Tom Brady confers with Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick during a game with the Washington Redskins on Nov. 8, 2015. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady confers with Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick during a game with the Washington Redskins on Nov. 8, 2015. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

There’s a whole other component to McDaniels’ shocking decision, which came after the Colts already announced his hiring as head coach. Barring a move to a new team for Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, or interest down the road from Falcons assistant GM Scott Pioli, it’s unlikely that any other team would trust McDaniels now. He has to succeed Belichick if he wants to be a head coach, and he very well could. King’s column also added that McDaniels will likely get “first consideration” to be Belichick’s successor. But it’s strange and intriguing that there’s no guarantee in place.

The NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported on Good Morning Football on Wednesday that McDaniels’ agent, Bob LaMonte, told him that he’s making the “biggest professional mistake of his career” to jilt the Colts and scoot back to New England. And it sounds like an even bigger risk knowing that there’s no official guarantee that he would be Belichick’s successor.

But a lot can change in two, three, four years. Other opportunities will open up, perhaps with guys who already know and trust McDaniels. Also, there’s still the possibility that there’s some kind of under-the-table agreement for that. The Patriots would still need to comply with the Rooney Rule, after all.

Still, McDaniels is undoubtedly putting his long-term coaching future on the line here. Especially if he still aspires to be a head coach some day. That may come in New England in just a few years’ time anyway, but that move is far from a guarantee.

— By Matt Dolloff,

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at

Note: This article was updated to include additional information regarding the “Rooney Rule”.