Bill Belichick likely had an ulterior motive when he agreed to trade back in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. The move resulted in an extra draft pick. The draft also hurt the New York Jets, a team that probably isn't included in Belichick's annual holiday card list.
At some point during the first round, Belichick called the Steelers with the idea of swapping picks, via Steel City Insider's Jim Wexell. Pittsburgh GM Omar Khan obliged, sending the Patriots the 17th and 120th overall picks in exchange for the 14th overall pick. That put the Steelers just ahead of the Jets, who like Pittsburgh were expected by many to select an offensive tackle with their first-round pick.
The Steelers used the pick to select former Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones. With Jones and three other offensive linemen already off the board, the Jets pivoted and used the 15th overall pick to select former Iowa State defensive end Will McDonald IV.
It would be three more rounds before the Jets drafted an offensive tackle, selecting former Pitt Panther Carter Warren. Ironically, it was done using the 120th pick the Patriots acquired from the Steelers, as New York received that and the 184th overall pick from New England in exchange for the 112th overall pick. The Patriots drafted former Maryland kicker Chad Ryland with the 112th pick. The Jets used the second pick in their trade with New England to select former Western Michigan linebacker Zaire Barnes with the 184th pick.
Belichick's checkered history with the Jets goes back several decades. He actually served two stints as Gang Green's head coach without ever coaching a game for them in that position. The second time, Belichick resigned after being the Jets coach for a single day. Belichick's abrupt resignation was the beginning of a messy divorce that was finally settled after the Patriots agreed to trade future draft picks with the Jets -- including giving them that year's first-round pick -- to acquire Belichick.
While he took a lot of heat for it then, Belichick's decision to leave New York to become the Patriots' new coach was obviously the right call. Under Belichick's watch, the Patriots have won six Super Bowls, nine AFC titles and 17 division titles. Belichick has had considerable success against the Jets, with a 36-10 record against his former employer.
"Well, not only one of the most defining, but you know, one of the great moments of my career,"of his decision to leave the Jets a second time in November 2000. "That combined with Robert [Kraft] giving me the opportunity to come here, I couldn't have asked for anything more. That wasn't a good situation for me and I didn't want to be part of it, so I wasn't. The other half of that was Robert giving me the opportunity to come here and trading, he gave up quite a bit to get me to come here, and that was a big trade."
Despite his and New England's success, New York has occasionally been a thorn in Belichick's side. The Jets were the whistle blowers regarding "Spygate" that resulted in fines and a blemished reputation. Three years later, Rex Ryan's team pulled off a massive upset win over Belichick's Patriots in the 2010 AFC divisional round of the playoffs. That loss set the stage for a streak of eight straight AFC title game appearances for the Patriots with Belichick and Tom Brady leading the way.
It's safe to say that the two teams haven't been this close as far as competition since that game. The Patriots are looking to rebound after a disappointing 8-9 campaign. The Jets, who were broomed by the Patriots in 2022, finished last season with a 7-10 record. New York is expected to be significantly better this season, however, with the free agent acquisition of former four-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers.