LAS VEGAS — New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft pushed back Thursday on the notion that his franchise is unwilling to spend on premium players, addressed why his franchise has ranked so low in cash spending and expressed optimism for what his team can do with their looming cap space and No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
In an informal, mostly off-the-record session here with a few reporters, Kraft went on the record to address two questions — the notion that his franchise hasn’t spent enough money in recent years for success, and whether he’s concerned to enter an important offseason with a first-year coach and general manager-less front office that’s being led by Eliot Wolf and Matt Groh.
“I know there’s a perception that we have held back on spending,” Kraft said. “Let me just say to our fans — that’s just not true. Look, we were blessed to have a coach in our system who was a great coach and also understood value. He ran a tight ship. They say we’ve been low spenders in the last 10 years, and that might be true, but we had a pretty good record. We won three Super Bowls.
“But we never held back with any of the coaches we’ve had over the last 30 years. They’ve been able to get whatever they want. If cash spending became an issue for our family, and we couldn’t do it, then I would sell the team. … I can assure our fans that spending will never be held back or the reason that we don’t sign players.”
Earlier this offseason, Kraft tapped 37-year-old Jerod Mayo to become the Patriots’ head coach, a move that happened quickly after a mutual parting of ways with Bill Belichick because Kraft wrote into Mayo’s contract that he would be the successor to Belichick. Then he handed controls of the front office to Wolf and Groh, young executives who hadn’t always had their voices heard under Belichick, who made so many decisions unilaterally.
That’s a lot of decision makers for the Patriots in powerful roles for the first time, but it’s not something that concerns Kraft, who expressed optimism about what all the team’s resources could yield.
“I feel a sense of excitement and great opportunity to hopefully position the team to be special,” Kraft said. “…This is the first time in 31 years of ownership that we’re drafting at the position that we are, and have a chance to get some great players, and also have the cap room that we’ve carried over. So I hope it positions us for the next few years beautifully. I’ve said that to the team. It’s pretty exciting.”
(Photo: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)