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Patriots get permission to speak to Belichick

The New England Patriots have received permission from the New York Jets to contact Bill Belichick about the vacant head coaching job in Foxborough.

New England spokesman Stacey James confirmed that the Jets and Patriots have reached an agreement on compensation should the Patriots hire Belichick. It was not yet known what the compensation would be if New England decided on Belichick as the new head coach.

Sports Illustrated's Peter King reported on CNNSI.com that an arrangement involving the exchange of multiple draft choices is part of the agreement.

Belichick, who resigned as Jets head coach one day after being elevated to the position, was an assistant coach with the Patriots during the team's Super Bowl season of 1996.

Belichick left for New York with Bill Parcells following the Patriots loss in Super Bowl XXXI. Belichick's contract with the Jets included a stipulation that would make him the Jets head coach when Parcells stepped down. After Parcells retired after this season, Belichick became head coach, but he resigned from the position one day later.

He filed a grievance with NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue trying to break free from his contract and he then filed a federal lawsuit, but neither legal maneuver was successful.

The Patriots also have had discussions with former Pittsburgh Director of Football Operations Tom Donahoe. Although it is believed New England was prepared to offer Belichick the head coach and general manager positions, the team could opt to name Donahoe G.M. and Belichick just head coach.

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