The decision of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to stay with the New England Patriots rather than accept a head coaching job with the Indianapolis Colts could fuel speculation that Bill Belichick will step down as head coach sooner rather than later. According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, McDaniels’ decision to stick with the Patriots will lead to rumors that Belichick’s tenure with the team is about to end. However, Reiss said Belichick is locked in for 2018 and he is expected to return as head coach next season. However, Reiss said that the Patriots have given McDaniels an assurance that he will replace Belichick as head coach once the latter retires.

Sources told Adam Schefter of ESPN that the Patriots, led by team owner Robert Kraft, made an aggressive late push to convince McDaniels to stay. Schefter said Kraft began talking with the 41-year-old McDaniels two days ago and ultimately agreed to sweeten his contract. However, Schefter said McDaniels’ decision to stay with the Patriots had nothing to do with money, but due to his family. Reports have it that McDaniels was not comfortable with the idea of relocating his family to Indianapolis.

Colts made announcement before McDaniels changed mind

McDaniels’ decision to decline the head coaching job with the Colts came hours after the team announced that they have agreed to contract terms with the offensive coordinator as replacement for Chuck Pagano.

However, they were taken aback by McDaniels’ decision to withdraw from their earlier agreement, saying they were surprised and disappointed. The Colts said they will resume their search for a new head coach immediately.

Colts already signed some of McDaniels assistants to deals

According to Dianna Russini of ESPN, some potential members of McDaniels’ coaching staff with the Colts were not informed of his decision to stay with the Patriots.

Some of these coaches have already agreed to a contract with the Colts, including defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. However, it was reported that the Colts will keep some of these assistants with the team.

Aside from McDaniels, the Colts also interviewed former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, former Houston Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel and former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

Nagy, Vrabel and Wilks accepted other head coaching jobs with the Bears, Titans and Cardinals, respectively. Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, for his part, decided to stay coaching at the college level while former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard accepted the same job with the Dallas Cowboys.