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Mallett the key to Belichick staying on?

Posted by Greg A. Bedard  May 13, 2011 03:55 PM

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Andy Hart over at Patriots Football Weekly did a good job catching an interesting comment made this week by NFL Network analyst/Bill Belichick friend Michael Lombardi in regards to a possible outcome with the Ryan Mallett draft pick.

It involves Mallett being the key to Belichick coaching for the next 10-15 years:


Ryan Mallett will have the largest impact of any quarterback drafted this year, and his impact will be felt on and off the field. On the field, he will be given time to develop, to watch and learn from one of the greatest ever in the game -- Brady. Off the field, Mallett's ability will make Patriots coach Bill Belichick not want to stop coaching in the next 10 years and keep chasing titles. Mallett brings good news to Pats fans in every area.

I respect the heck out of Lombardi, and he could very well be right. But this is a bit of a stretch for me.

For one, that scenario would involve one of the following three things to happen:


  1. Tom Brady would have to retire earlier than anyone expects. He'll be 34 in August and shows no signs of slowing down. His contract still has four years left on it. Brady has said he wants to play until he's at least 40.

  2. Belichick would release, trade or not re-sign Brady by the end of his deal. Not ruling this out given Belichick's past. But hard for me to see this happening. The Krafts would also have to allow this.

  3. Mallett would have to be OK sitting for at least three years. Aaron Rodgers rode the pine for three years behind Brett Favre. That's the outer limit for a QB. Mallet will be 23 next month, meaning he would be 27 when he starts his first game in his fourth season. Rodgers is 27 right now and he has started for two years.

I can't see any of those things happening, but you never know in this league and with this team.

Lombardi's thinking would also mean Mallett is almost a given to be a very good NFL quarterback. I'm definitely skeptical about that -- as is the entire rest of the league given he lasted until the third round -- but we'll see. Mallett is in a perfect spot to develop. Whether he does or not is up to him and his talent.

Forgot to add my own possible likely outcome. Unless Brady gets injured, it's far more likely that Mallett showcases himself the next two preseasons and then is traded for picks if he proves his worth.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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