Welp. So much for that discussion.
If it's too long and you don't feel like watching, allow me to save everyone seven minutes so you can all get back to finding a vaccine for Covid. Here's the paraphrased SparkNotes version:
Mike Greenberg: "Bleacher Report says the Patriots should tank for Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields. Are they?"
David Pollack: "Bill Belichick? Tank? Are you nuts?"
Tim Hasselbeck: "Their goal is to win playoff games."
Adam Schefter: "They have a lot of confidence in Jarrett Stidham."
Somehow they managed to still stretch that out for another 6 1/2 minutes. But for all intents and purposes, it was the shortest talk show conversation since the Monty Python where the guy claimed he built the Taj Mahal:
I think Schefter had the most valid points. Even though he did misremember them going 4-0 when Brady was suspended in 2016. They went 2-0 with Jimmy Garoppolo and 1-1 with Jacoby Brissett, who had to get surgery on his throwing hand immediately after his loss. But the rest of his analysis was spot on.
I'm quoting now: "What they said to you so far [by not signing a veteran QB] is this, 'We believe in Jarrett Stidham.' ... I think that they love this. I think there's a part of them that looks forward to this." And he goes on to talk about the economics, which is integral to the discussion. They've got one quarterback on his rookie deal, and a backup for the veteran minimum. And I'll add that they have the least amount of cap room in the league right now. Which is hardly the way you go about trying to swim to the bottom of the league. Tanking teams release their best, most expensive players or trade them for future considerations. Furthermore, they're projected right now to be $86 million under the cap for 2021, which is fifth most in the league. While still having full control over their new starting QB.
My hope is that this is how every conversation about the possibility of Belichick pulling a Colts goes for the rest of the summer. Someone asks if he should tank. The answer is a resounding "Fuck no," and we all go back to our business. A non-starter. The sports broadcasting equivalent of that guy at the cookout who tries to spark up a conversation by asking you how work is going, so you find an excuse to walk away from him because you know it's not going to get any more interesting if you stick around.
Belichick losing on purpose, my ass. He's got the next franchise quarterback he's been seeking for 20 years. The defense that gave up the fewest points in the league. Deep depth at running back. All five starters on his O-line returning. Two new tight ends. And one of the best special teams units in the league. He couldn't tank even if it didn't go against the very fiber of his being. He knows how to do everything you can do in football. Except lose.