In what is seemingly becoming a yearly tradition, ESPN released an article meant to show that all is not well in New England. It always seems to happen right before the playoffs, as if meant as a distraction to the team that cannot be distracted. Either way, this year's in depth reporting from Foxboro has no basis in reality.

In ESPN's report, they claim that tensions have grown so much in New England that this is likely the last season the dynamic trio of owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and future hall of fame quarterback Tom Brady will be together.

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After nearly two decades of dominance that included 7 trips to the Super Bowl and 5 victories, some disagreements are about to tear it all down.

The three were quick to refute the report and issue a joint statement, saying that they are united and focused on winning a record-tying 6th Super Bowl.

The Jimmy Garoppolo trade

When New England abruptly traded their backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo at the trade deadline, fans were confused. Jimmy was supposed to be the heir apparent to Tom Brady and continue the Patriots' run of success.

Why would he be traded for only a second-round pick?

ESPN has been trumpeting the story that Cleveland would have offered a better package for Jimmy G. It is anybody's guess if that were true, but one idea that they keep pushing is Cleveland would have traded the 4th overall pick they got from Houston. The only problem with that is at the time of the trade, Houston still had DeShaun Watson playing at an elite level and the team looked like a playoff contender. That pick at the time looked like a late first-round pick at best.

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In Belichick's world, the high second-round pick he got from San Francisco is more valuable as the guaranteed salary would be less. Not to mention the shorter contract commitment making it a safer pick should things not work out. Throughout Belichick's tenure with the Patriots, he has constantly traded down from the first round for that very reason.

The New York Giants rumor

Another major rumor to come out since this story was released was that Bill Belichick highly covets the open head coaching position with the New York Giants.

The story seems plausible. Belichick returns to his first favorite franchise and rides out his final few seasons, potentially with one final Super Bowl title to cap an amazing career.

While the Giants do need a coach, it is next to impossible that Belichick would be that guy. First off, the Patriots have him signed at least through the next year or two. This eliminates all leverage for Bill as his only way to New York would be through a trade. A trade Robert Kraft would never make.

There is also the issue with the Giants' roster.

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The team was awful this season and a full rebuild is rightfully on the table. Does Bill really want to start from complete scratch? Furthermore, Belichick enjoys full control over personnel in New England. It is unlikely he would have the same team-building power in New York.

Power struggle

Belichick's supposed desire to leave New England, per ESPN, stems from his displeasure mainly over being forced to trade Garoppolo. As with every personnel decision, there are multiple layers to consider. The Patriots had the money and roster space to keep Jimmy on the franchise tag for the next several years, long enough to wait out the final few years of Tom Brady's career. It was also well known though that more than money, Jimmy wanted to play. Belichick kept him as long as he could. As with every move, it was done with the best interest of the team in mind.