While there is still a chance assistant coach Matt Patricia leaves the New England Patriots this offseason, one potential door to do so has now been shut.
Despite rumors about him possibly joining the Philadelphia Eagles as their new linebackers coach, the club announced on Thursday that it had given the position to somebody else. Former Temple defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot will work with the group in 2023.
Patricia’s future, meanwhile, remains unclear.
The 48-year-old is coming off a challenging season. The former Patriots defensive coordinator, who returned to the club in 2021 after an unsuccessful three-year stint as Detroit Lions head coach, was moved to the offensive side of the ball to help replace the departed Josh McDaniels.
While officially listed as senior football advisor and offensive line coach, Patricia was effectively a co-coordinator on that side of the ball. He served as the unit’s play-caller and together with fellow assistant Joe Judge led the collaborative effort to lead the unit in Year 1 after its long-time coordinator left for Las Vegas.
The experiment did not go as planned, with the Patriots offense playing some uninspired football for much of the season. Coaching was an issue, leading to the club hiring Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator and Adrian Klemm as supposed offensive line coach.
With those two on board and Patricia’s contract having expired as well — he was still being paid by the Lions through 2022 — a split between the veteran coach and the Patriots appears likely. The Eagles were one possible landing spot, while the Denver Broncos still remain in contention to pick him up.
Denver interviewed Patricia for its defensive coordinator job, but despite not hiring him might bring him in nonetheless.
“He’s outstanding,” Broncos head coach Payton said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I’ve known him for a long time. We’ve practiced against the Patriots. I think he’s extremely talented. I think they’ve won five Super Bowls while he was [coaching] defenses. So, that was easy. I knew right away I wanted to interview Matt.”
Payton added that he would not rule out his team adding Patricia to its staff. Nothing has transpired so far, but it appears that the Broncos are indeed his best shot if he decides to leave New England.