Rex Ryan says Bill Belichick will leave the Patriots after the season is over

The Patriots didn't play over the weekend, but one of the hottest topics in the NFL over the past 72 hours has been the future of the organization. 

After ESPN released a story Friday that suggested that there's some sort of power struggle going on in New England that involves Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a lot of questions started swirling about the future of the organization. 

The New York Daily News even reported that Belichick might be interested in coaching the Giants in 2018 and the reported tension in New England would give him the perfect reason to leave the Patriots after 18 seasons. 

Even if Belichick doesn't end up with the Giants, he could still end up leaving New England after the Patriots' season is over and that's exactly what Rex Ryan is expecting to happen. During an appearance on "ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown" over the weekend, the former Jets and Bills coach gave an interesting answer when he was asked if he thought this would be Belichick's final year with the Patriots. 

"I do. I think Belichick just says 'The hell with it,'" Ryan said. "He has nothing to prove."

Ryan also added that if Belichick were to leave New England, there's a good chance that he could probably get a blank check from pretty much any NFL owner out there. 

"Then he sits back -- if Gruden can make a $100 million on a 10-year deal, what are you going to pay Belichick?" Ryan asked. 

Of course, if Belichick is going to leave after the season, someone might want to tell him that. The Patriots coach was asked Monday if he plans on being back in New England for the 2018 season and he gave a one-word answer. 

"Absolutely," Belichick said. 

Coincidentally, Kraft used the exact same word when he was asked on Saturday if Belichick will be returning in 2018. During an interview with TheMMQB.com, Kraft said he "absolutely" expects Belichick to be the Patriots' coach. 

"When you're lucky enough to have someone exceptional, you let them do their job and you get out of the way," Kraft said.

That being said, even if Belichick did plan on leaving, it's not like he -- or Kraft -- would tell anyone because then Belichick would become a distraction and we all know how much Belichick hates distractions. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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