In an unprecedented move, the Patriots announced Thursday they have begun contract extension talks with linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, and they will begin the process of hiring an offensive coordinator next week.
The team’s statement read: “The New England Patriots and Head Coach Bill Belichick have begun contract extension discussions with Jerod Mayo that would keep him with the team long-term. In addition, the team will begin interviewing for offensive coordinator candidates beginning next week.”
The Patriots did not employ an offensive coordinator during the 2022 season. Offensive line coach and first-year play-caller Matt Patricia effectively replaced former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, with Belichick and quarterbacks coach Joe Judge also leading the offense. On Wednesday, NBC Sports Boston reported Belichick and owner Robert Kraft agreed the offensive staff would be remade after a difficult 8-9 season, and current coaches would be reassigned.
“This has to be a Robert Kraft move,” a league source said of the statement. “This is for the fans.”
Based on his hiring history, Belichick figures to a hire a former Patriots assistant or player as his next offensive coordinator. Under that assumption, top candidates would include former Pats offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, now at Alabama, and recently fired Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, a 2003 Patriots draft pick. The Patriots must also interview a minority candidate to satisfy the NFL’s Rooney Rule.
A source confirmed Mayo’s contract with the team is set to expire this offseason. The 36-year-old is prepared to explore outside opportunities this offseason for head coach and defensive coordinator positions. The Panthers requested an interview with Mayo for their head-coaching vacancy Thursday, and the Browns filed a request to interview Mayo for their defensive coordinator vacancy Monday.
Mayo has previously interviewed for head-coaching jobs with the Eagles, Raiders and Broncos. He has not taken an interview for a defensive coordinator position. Last month, Mayo reiterated his goal of becoming a head coach.
“That’s never changed. I think I’m ready to be a head coach in the league,” Mayo said.. “But I have to say this, too: right now, my focus is on being here with the Patriots. But that’s definitely still the goal.”
After a successful 8-year playing career in New England, he rejoined the Patriots as an assistant in 2019. He became the first Patriots position coach ever hired by Bill Belichick without a year of experience coaching in his system, elsewhere in the NFL or in the major college ranks. Mayo started his career as the fastest-rising assistant ever under Belichick and appears on a fast track to becoming a head coach one day.
According to NBC Sports Boston, Mayo turned down an offer to become a co-defensive coordinator with fellow linebackers coach Steve Belichick last year because he believed he had done more to coordinate the defense than Belichick had. Steve Belichick, the son of longtime Patriots coach Bill Belichick, has called defensive plays since 2019.