Despite his tenure with the Patriots coming as the direct result of a divisional trade, Bill Belichick isn’t a fan of doing too much business with AFC East rivals.
As the 2018 season approaches, Belichick is aware that teams — potentially including the Patriots — are shopping players around. And he discussed how he manages the market during a press conference on Wednesday.
“There’s no question it’s always easier to talk with a team you’re not in direct competition with,” Belichick explained, though he noted that no teams are ever completely ruled out.
“That doesn’t exclude other teams that are maybe you’re in more direct competition with. Again, trades are theoretically maneuvers that will help both teams. When two teams make a trade, both think they’re improving. That’s why they make it, right?”
Exceptions aside, Belichick isn’t overly interested in doing regular business with the Bills, Dolphins, or Jets.
“I think we have good relationships with really all the teams in the league, but we really don’t do a lot of transactions with the ones in the AFC East,” Belichick said. “That’s pretty normal. That’s the way it’s been with almost every other team I’ve been with. There hasn’t been a lot of activity between teams in the same division.”
Yet arguably the most memorable exception in the last 20 years was a trade that involved Belichick himself. After a protracted (and contentious) negotiation, Belichick arrived from the Jets to become the Patriots new coach in 2000.
In a move that was deemed controversial at the time, Robert Kraft sent a first-round pick in the 2000 draft, as well as picks in the fourth and seventh rounds in the 2001 draft to the Jets in exchange for Belichick, a 2001 fifth-round pick, and a 2002 seventh-round pick.