Bill Belichick: Overspending teams can’t sustain success, you end up paying the bills

Patriots coach Bill Belichick says big spending sprees in free agency don’t translate to lasting success in the NFL.

Belichick said on WEEI that teams can get a year-long boost by giving players first-year contracts with big contract bonuses and small-cap hits, but ultimately that money counts toward the team’s salary cap, and those teams end up having one day of reckoning.

“Temporarily you can, but you can’t sustain it, no,” Belichick said of “You can’t maintain the 20 years of success that we’ve had by overspending every year without eventually having to pay those bills and play with a weaker team. So I think if you look at the teams that made it, some of them kind of ended up there. Jacksonville in 14, the Rams are going through it, Tampa is going through it now. So I’m not saying there’s anything right or wrong about that. It’s just a different way of doing things and there are results for that.”

When asked why the Patriots are at the bottom of the league on their player spending levels in 2023, Belichick said it wasn’t relevant. What is relevant is the salary cap up to which the Patriots will spend their money.

“Cash spending is not really relevant. “It’s cap spending,” Belichick said. “Teams that spend a lot of money one year probably don’t spend a lot of money the next year because you just can’t keep it up.” So we’ve had good years, we’ve had bad years, but our caps have always been high. And that’s the most competitive position you can be in. So this is really the case: when it comes to cash spending, there is no cash limit. There is a salary cap and we spend up to the salary cap. That’s the most important.”

Ultimately, Belichick says, people who focus on a year’s spending overlook what really goes into creating a roster.

“You can’t see it on a Polaroid snapshot,” Belichick said. “It’s a multi-year process. So you can overspend for a year and eventually you can’t.”


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Matthew Collins

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