In uncommon fashion for the franchise, the New England Patriots issued a press release Thursday stating negotiations have begun to retain linebackers coach Jerod Mayo and interviews for potential offensive coordinators will commence next week.
"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," the statement read. "In addition, the team will begin interviewing for offensive coordinator candidates beginning next week."
The release comes on the same day NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Mayo had received a request for an interview for the vacant Carolina Panthers head coaching job.
Mayo played all eight seasons of his NFL career with the Patriots from 2008-2015, and joined the franchise as an assistant coach in 2019. He's a homegrown talent fluent with Belichick's defense and Thursday's statement makes it clear the Pats don't want him going anywhere. The feeling is mutual, apparently, as NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo noted there are opportunities elsewhere for the 36 year old, but he loves the organization and steps have been put in place for his return.
Though the defense often shined for New England this past year with Mayo's aid, the same cannot be said for an offense that was 26th in yards and saw the regression of quarterback Mac Jones. Though Belichick never named an offensive coordinator for the 2022 squad, the offense was led and plays were called by Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, listed as senior offensive advisor/offensive line coach and offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach, respectively.
Thursday's announcement of an impending OC search signals alterations ahead as the club has struggled to find a replacement for Josh McDaniels, who left during the last offseason to become the Las Vegas Raiders head coach.
Such an announcement of the plans ahead is a rather stark change from years past under the Belichick regime. In the aftermath of a disappointing 8-9 season in which they fell short of the playoffs, were led by a staunch defense and hamstrung by a struggling offense, the Patriots have taken an unprecedented move in transparency. They value Mayo's contributions for the defense and have every intention of keeping him in the building, and just the same they realize the offense was often a calamity, and change needs to made.