Report says Bill O’Brien of Alabama is New England’s “prime target.”

Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is the Patriots’ “prime goal” for the same position in the NFL franchise, according to a report by NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran. New England released a transparent statement last week that detailed the upcoming OC search and a timeline for interviewing candidates, but did not identify potential targets.

O’Brien, who is on expiring contract following his second season with the Crimson Tide, has been tied to Bill Belichick’s position as coaching staff for weeks and speculation surrounding his candidacy continues to mount.

If he goes, that would go Nick Saban with two coordinator posts thereafter Peter Golding was was announced as the new defensive coordinator at Ole Miss this week.

Since the end of the NFL regular season, almost all of the smoke surrounding O’Brien’s potential move has revolved around the Patriots and his relationship with Belichick. O’Brien has been linked to several other openings in the NFL, but New England appears to be the franchise that Alabama’s play caller is targeting, according to multiple reports.

O’Brien has spent the last two seasons with the Crimson Tide helping Bryce Young win the Heisman during the 2021 campaign. Before Alabama defeated Kansas in the Sugar Bowl O’Brien said he had no contact with the Patriots since He visited New England in the spring of last year.

“It’s kind of a season where things come up and things come up,” O’Brien said at the time. “I haven’t spoken to anyone in New England since probably last April, when I stopped by and saw these guys when I was up there. I wish them all the best for their final games as many games they have left but we are very focused on the game and focused on coaching this team to the best of our ability.

How will Saban react if O’Brien goes to the NFL and doesn’t choose to stay in Alabama? During the season, Saban’s sophomore OC was free.

“There isn’t a coach or player in this organization who couldn’t do better to give our players a better chance of success,” Saban said of O’Brien in November. “I think the players themselves also have to take responsibility and go out and do things they’re supposed to do, especially at critical times in the game.”

Get the fastest results, stats, news, LIVE videos and more. CLICK HERE to download the CBS Sports Mobile App and get the latest on your team today.

The Crimson Tide averaged 41.1 points per contest this season under O’Brien, who ranked second in the SEC and tied fourth in the nation with Georgia. Alabama also averaged 477.2 total yards, 281.5 passing yards, and 195.6 rushing yards per game.