Here’s what Bill Belichick told Duron Harmon after trading him to the Lions

The New England Patriots are in the midst of what has become a transformative offseason. Not only have they lost franchise icon Tom Brady in free agency, but defensive leaders like Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts and Jamie Collins have all signed with other clubs and putting their tenure in Foxborough to a close. While all of those players left on their own accord, Bill Belichick also did some maneuvering of his own by trading longtime safety Duron Harmon to the Detroit Lions. 

Harmon has been with New England for the past seven seasons and grew into one of the more prominent leaders in the locker room. While the Patriots would certainly value his leadership as they enter the post-Tom Brady era, Harmon pulled the curtain back on a phone call he had with Bill Belichick when he was informed of the trade and revealed the coach’s reasoning. 

“When I talked to Bill, he told me what the decision was based off of,” Harmon told Devin and Jason McCourty on their Double Coverage Podcast. “He just told me, ‘Look, it’s just at the point where we have to make some moves. We just paid [Devin McCourty] and it’s just going to be really tough to really do anything, or get anything done in free agency if we don’t do this.'”

Harmon is entering the final year of his contact and was set to count $4.25 million against the Patriots cap, a number they could clear completely by making this trade with Detroit. According to the latest official cap space calculations, the Patriots have less than $900,000 in available room, which ranks as the second lowest in the NFL.  

“I can only respect that,” Harmon said of Belichick’s honesty in explaining the move. “At the end of the day, we know that Bill is going to do what is best for the team. I respect that because not a lot of people can do that and always have that type of commitment and dedication to always making sure the team’s first.” 

Harmon, who had two interceptions and 22 tackles in 16 games in 2019, also noted that Belichick highlighted how this is going to be a “great opportunity” for him now that he is reunited with former defensive coordinator in Matt Patricia, who is currently the head coach of the Lions. 

While Belichick has the reputation of being a ruthless roster maneuverer, this transaction with Harmon shows that it all comes from a logical place. Players may not be too fond of the moves, but they all come from the same core belief that he is making these decisions with the intent of making his club better in the long run. 

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