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Josh McDaniels' return might extend Bill Belichick's coaching window

From ESPN - February 8, 2018

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When Josh McDaniels reversed course to return to the New England Patriots on Tuesday, one of the first questions it sparked was: How much longer does Bill Belichick plan to coach?

Belichick turns 66 in April, hes committed to be back in 2018, and it seems fair to say hes year-to-year after that.

Some believe McDaniels return could accelerate Belichicks eventual retirement, but heres an alternative theory: It actually might prolong his stay on the sideline because it reduces what would have been a major strain.

This was shaping up to be one of Belichicks most challenging years because he was going to have to replace McDaniels, his offensive coordinator; defensive coordinator Matt Patricia; and maybe even special teams coach Joe Judge, whose contract is expiring.

McDaniels return takes a major headache away from Belichick, as the Patriots did not have a clear in-house candidate to replace the offensive coordinator. It probably would have meant Belichick devoting more time to that side of the ball like he did in 2005, when Charlie Weis departed and McDaniels was being eased into the playcalling role.

McDaniels coming back in 2018 and into the future simplifies things for Belichick, allowing the freedom that is ideal for him to oversee the entire team, or chip in more on defense under a new coordinator (likely Brian Flores).

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