By Danny Picard
BOSTON — It wasn’t a change of heart. It was a brilliant negotiation strategy on the part of Josh McDaniels. And the New England Patriots had no choice but to succumb to the pressure.
McDaniels informed the Indianapolis Colts of his decision to stay in New England on Tuesday night. Say what you will about his character, after seemingly sticking it to the entire city of Indianapolis at the last minute, but at the end of the day, McDaniels got exactly what he wanted from the Patriots: a better deal.
I was telling you for weeks that McDaniels had all the leverage in the world, with defensive coordinator Matt Patricia leaving to become the next head coach of the Detroit Lions. What NFL team wants to lose its offensive and defensive coordinator in the same offseason? Nobody in their right mind would want that to happen, nevermind a Patriots organization that has committed to the short term by going all-in on the final years of Tom Brady’s illustrious career.
The Patriots will be fine without Patricia. Bill Belichick knows a thing or two about running a championship defense. You just don’t want to have to deal with losing both coordinators at the same time. And McDaniels knew that. So he played the game. And Indianapolis was a perfect backup plan, just in case Robert Kraft and Belichick didn’t give in.
Sure, the idea that McDaniels spurned the Colts because of Deflategate is a sexy storyline that adds to all the drama, but more than anything, this was a business decision.
From a business perspective — and football is a business, after all — McDaniels played it perfectly. And he used the Colts as part of his negotiation ploy.