The New England Patriots have made it clear they want Jerod Mayo around for a long time. In an unprecedented statement released on Thursday, they announced their plans to sign the linebackers coach to a long-term contract extension.
Since the press release, Mayo has turned down interviews for the Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator position and the Carolina Panthers' head-coaching job. That has led to speculation that the organization has big plans for a coach it holds in high regard.
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Could Mayo be in line to be Bill Belichick's successor? On Sports Sunday, host Mike Felger asked Ted Johnson and Albert Breer whether Mayo would be considered the odds-on favorite to be the next Patriots head coach.
"I don't know how he couldn't be," Johnson answered. "As far as I know, the relationship he has with the Krafts and everything-- I don't know Jerod as well as a lot of you guys do, but everything I've heard about Jerod Mayo is glowing.
"That, to me, has to be on the table. I don't know how you negotiate that, I don't know how you put it in writing. But if I'm Jerod Mayo, I look at what happened with Josh McDaniels several years before that. That would be a cautionary tale for me. I would want something in writing. Not just a verbal promise, but something in writing that assures me I could be the next head coach after Bill retires."
Breer explained what makes the McDaniels situation different than what's happening with Mayo, and why it's more likely than not that a conversation about Mayo eventually taking over for Belichick took place.
"It's a little different than the Josh McDaniels situation because Josh McDaniels went through the interview process with the Colts and found a problem with it," Breer said. "Didn't like the mix there, didn't like the way the responsibility was split up. And so, that was after he went through the process, so he knew what the landscape was. But Jerod Mayo didn't even investigate the landscape on the Carolina job.
"So to me, that would mean the Patriots would have to go to another level to keep him. And if you're Jerod Mayo and you know there are only 32 of these, I think the discussion would at least have to be broached that you're eventually going to be considered to replace Bill Belichick."
For the entire discussion, watch the full "Sports Sunday" clip below: