NFL Rumors: Buccaneers rival is interested in hiring Bill Belichick

This isn't exactly good news for the Buccaneers.
New York Jets v New England Patriots
New York Jets v New England Patriots / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers season will continue next week in the Wild Card round, everyone else in the NFC South will be at home watching.

One of those teams will be using the time to pour over options for who should be their next head coach. On Monday morning -- almost exactly at midnight -- the Atlanta Falcons fired Arthur Smith, ending his tenure after only two seasons.

Getting blown out by the Saints in Week 18 probably didn't help, but Smith's inability to turn the roster of talent Atlanta boasts into anything more than a third place team is the bigger reason he's out of a job.

While it's easy to point and laugh at the Falcons, getting rid of Smith theoretically means someone better is going to assume the role. That's bad news for the Buccaneers, and doubly so if early rumors about who they're targeting are true.

NFL Rumors: Falcons are interested in hiring Bill Belichick

According to The Athletic's Dianna Russini, the Falcons are a team to keep an eye on if Bill Belichick ends up getting let go in New England.

Belichick's future is up in the air after finishing his worst season with the Patriots. Rumblings of a potential split started over a month ago and have only grown louder as the season went further down the tubes.

There's still a chance he returns, but all signs seem to point toward Robert Kraft taking his team back and building something new. If that happens, Belichick will be free to go wherever he wants and it sounds like Atlanta will make a serious play to get him.

Belichick is a defensive mastermind, and the idea of him taking the bones of a good defense in Atlanta and turning it into a wrecking ball isn't exactly fun. The upside could be that he might not be the guy to fully tap into the Falcons offensive potential, as the Patriots were never known for their offense outside of what Tom Brady brought ot the table.

Atlanta trading for Justin Fields could change things, but there's also the chance that Belchick brings Josh McDaniels with him which doesn't exactly strike fear into anyone.

Even if it's not Belichick, the Falcons are going to have someone as their new head coach next year and whoever it is will likely make them a competitive threat to Tampa Bay in 2024.

More Tampa Bay Buccaneers news and rumors