Patriots

Dimitroff: Ignoring Belichick's advice on Julio Jones trade a turning point

Dimitroff: Ignoring Belichick's advice on Julio Jones trade a turning point

HOUSTON -- When Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff was contemplating trading five picks -- including two first-rounders and a second -- to move up and take Julio Jones in 2011, his former boss advised against it. 

“Thomas, I’m just telling you as a friend,” Belichick said, as documented in Michael Holley’s “War Room” book. “I wouldn’t do it.”

So if it didn’t already seem like a ballsy move for Dimitroff to part with all those picks already, imagine how ballsy it must have felt after being told by a Hall of Fame team-builder that it was a bad idea. 

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“[I have a] great deal of respect for Bill,” Dimitroff said Monday night. “At the end of that conversation, when I thought to myself I’d hit a crossroads, three years into the league that I was not necessarily going the same direction that he was advising. I thought, ‘I guess I’ve really kind of grown up here,’ because that’s not an easy thing to do, is listen to someone as football intelligent and rounded as Bill [and go against it]. So that was a really interesting point in my career.”

Thanks to Cleveland’s incompetence with the picks, the trade has proven to be a complete slam-dunk for Atlanta, who boasted the No. 1 offense in the NFL this season en route to a chance to play for the city’s first Super Bowl title. 

It’s hard to imagine Bill Belichick is a guy who likes to admit when he’s wrong. He was in this case not only because Jones became a star, but because Jonathan Baldwin, whom Holley noted Belichick thought was just as good if not better, didn’t prove to be much of an NFL player at all. 

So… has Belichick ever brought up that conversation since? 

“No, he has not,” Dimitroff said. “We’ve not ever talked about it. He knows that we have some good speed and talent on our team. I’ll let him answer those questions, for sure.” 

Dimitroff suggesting that Belichick would answer those questions further underscores that he really has been gone from New England for a long time. 

Washington Post survey: Patriots have NFL's easiest schedule

Washington Post survey: Patriots have NFL's easiest schedule

A rematch of the AFC Championship Game, another trip to Pittsburgh against the perennial AFC-contending Steelers, matchups against playoff teams such as the Vikings and Chiefs... 

That's part of the easiest schedule in the NFL, according to a Washington Post survey, and it belongs to the New England Patriots.

The Post's Neil Greenberg, whose formula had the Pats with the easiest schedule a year ago, too, writes that he uses "a blend of Super Bowl LIII future odds from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook coupled with the over/under win totals set by online sportsbook 5Dimes" to make his determination.

That method has New England opponents expected to win an average of 7.5 games, with two - the Steelers and Packers - estimated to win 10 or more.

As usual, it's the AFC East that brings the Pats' strength of schedule down. The Bills, Dolphins and Jets aren't expected to win more than seven games, according to the Post survey, and none of them have even a one percent chance to win the Super Bowl.

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