Bill Belichick is without question the best head coach in the NFL, but is he the best general manager, too?
The New England Patriots coach always has had a massive say in roster decisions during his 20-year tenure leading the team. His eye for talent is legendary, and the results have been unprecedented — 17 AFC East titles, nine AFC championships and six Super Bowl wins.
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And yet Belichick still receives a lot of criticism when he swings and misses on a high draft pick or signs a free agent who fails to make a strong on-field impact. Belichick has taken plenty of heat this offseason as several veteran players on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Tom Brady, departed New England through free agency or trades.
This kind of scrutiny is to be expected in Boston, though — fans here demand a very high level of success every season regardless of how the previous one finished.
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So, where does Belichick rank among the top GMs in the league entering the 2020 season?
Rotoworld’s Patrick Daugherty put Belichick at No. 1 on his latest list. Here’s part of Daugherty’s explanation:
Belichick is not perfect, especially as a general manager. His roster failings are often wielded against him as a weapon, as if he is supposed to bat 1.000. A GM who does not make frequent, annual mistakes is a GM who does not exist. It is how you work around them that bakes the cake. Belichick left himself undermanned on offense last season. How did he compensate? By putting together the best defense of his entire tenure in New England. Belichick never focuses on what he doesn’t have. He takes his best shot at putting together a 53-man roster then molds and manipulates it as needed. It’s never flawless, but there are no excuses. Only Bill.
Daugherty also mentions Belichick signing veteran quarterback Cam Newton in free agency for a shockingly low price. The entire league passed on Newton, who went unsigned on the free agent market for several months after being released by the Carolina Panthers in March.
Newton has to prove he can stay healthy for a full season, but if he can manage that, the former league MVP has the potential to be a tremendous replacement for Brady. It’s the type of low risk/high reward move that Belichick has crushed time after time in his Patriots career.
The Patriots aren’t the best team in the AFC, and keeping their grip on the AFC East crown could prove difficult next season, but would you really want any coach/GM leading a football team other than Belichick? No one does a better job building rosters and preparing his team each week than the Patriots head coach.
Here’s where Patriots’ Bill Belichick lands on ranking of NFL’s best general managers originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston