Bіll Belісhісk Aссuѕed of Sаbotаgіng Jetѕ Wіth Pаtrіotѕ Drаft Trаde

Bill Belichick’s history with the New York Jets has been defined by animosity, and the latest chapter in their rivalry is no different. The New England Patriots’ head coach has been accused of sabotaging the Jets by making a trade in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft.

That’s the verdict of an unnamed NFL general manager who told Jason La Canfora of The Washington Post how Belichick prevented the Jets from taking former Georgia left tackle Broderick Jones.

The latter went to the Pittsburgh Steelers after Belichick took a fourth-round pick, the 120th overall, to let the Steelers move from 17th to 14th, one space ahead of the Jets. The trade didn’t reflect proper value, according to the anonymous GM: “They should have had to give up a (third-round pick) and not a four to move up there. Belichick did it just to f*** the Jets. He sold low because he knew the Steelers were going to take the kid the Jets wanted to take.”

Blocking the Jets’ path to Jones was no happy accident, with another personnel executive from around the league saying “Bill will try to screw them over any chance he gets. He knew exactly what he was doing.”

This isn’t the first time Belichick has left the Jets short or put one over on the Pats’ bitter AFC East rivals. It started when he resigned as Jets’ HC after less than a day back in 2000.

The heat was turned up seven years later when former Belichick assistant Eric Mangini, then head coach of the Jets, accused the Patriots of illegally filming his team’s sideline activity. Those accusation led to the infamous ‘Spygate’ saga.

This latest shot across the bows could be a sign the Patriots fear the Jets for a rare time during Belichick’s lengthy tenure at the helm.

Draft Jab a Reflection of Shifting Power Balance in Rivalry

Jones made sense for the Jets as a potential blindside protector for newly acquired quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Few left tackles in the nation performed as well as Jones last season, with PFF College crediting him with not allowing a single sack.

Having Jones keep Rodgers clean would have made the Jets a viable contender within the division. The deal to acquire four-time NFL MVP Rodgers makes the Jets appear stronger than the Patriots, and it’s not hard to see why Belichick should be more wary than usual of his familiar foe.

Rodgers will throw to 2022 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson, along with free-agent signings Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Mecole Hardman. The Patriots’ own offense can’t compare, not when Mac Jones has struggled to establish himself with a modest supporting cast.

Belichick’s concern about the Jets explains why he’d want to prevent them from making the already ample talent around Rodgers even stronger. It also explains the decision the Patriots made with the 17th-overall pick.

Patriots 1st-Round Pick a Reaction to Division Strengths

The Jets appeared blindsided by Belichick’s deal with the Steelers. They took a long time before deciding to make pass-rusher Will McDonald IV the 15th player drafted in the opening round, before adding offensive linemen Joe Tippmann and Carter Warren in rounds two and four.

While the Jets took a while to bring their strategy into focus, the Patriots were more decisive when Belichick took Christian Gonzalez off the board 17th overall. The ex-Oregon cornerback is a perfect fit for New England’s man-coverage schemes. He’s also a necessary addition to a deep and talented secondary tasked with repelling some explosive passing attacks in the East.

Those high-powered aerial attacks include the Rodgers-led Jets, but also the Miami Dolphins, who can put brilliant wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle onto the field together. Then there are the Buffalo Bills, who have become a thorn in the side of the Pats thanks to quarterback Josh Allen and wideout Stefon Diggs.

Gonzalez rated as the best athlete in a “historically strong class” at his position, according to Next Gen Stats.

Putting his natural physical skills with Jonathan Jones, Marcus Jones and Jalen Mills should give the Patriots what they need to at least make life difficult for their rivals. That would make Gonzalez a great value pick, as well as making the trade Belichick executed a doubly smart move.

While he might have considered stymying the Jets an opportunity too good to miss, Belichick ultimately managed to trade back, accrue an extra pick and still get the player he wanted. That’s good draft work by anybody’s standards, regardless of any hidden motives.

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