Robert Kraft offers candid thoughts about Patriots’ spending spree originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The New England Patriots found themselves in an unusual position this offseason. So, they took an unusual course of action.
After finishing 7-9 in 2020 — their worst season since Bill Belichick’s first in New England two decades ago — the Patriots went on a massive spending spree in free agency, adding or re-signing a total of 18 players (so far) to significant contracts.
What led to such uncharacteristic spending in New England? Patriots owner Robert Kraft suggested it came down to simple math.
“We had the second or third-most cap room (third-most, at $69 million) at the start of free agency,” Kraft told NBC Sports’ Peter King last Friday. “This year, instead of having 10 or 12 teams competing for most of the top players, there were only two or three. And in my 27 years as owner, I’ve never had to come up with so much capital before.”
Unlike in years past when the team sought value on the free-agent market, the Patriots ponied up for quality talent this offseason. They signed the top two free-agent tight ends in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, splurged on two high-end wide receivers in Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne and added a Pro Bowl pass rusher in Matthew Judon, among other moves.
And they made those moves with one goal in mind, according to Kraft.
“It’s like investing in the stock market,” Kraft said. “You take advantage of corrections and inefficiencies in the market when you can, and that’s what we did here. We’ll see. Nothing is guaranteed, and I’m very cognizant of that.
“But we’re not in the business to be in business. We’re in this business to win.”
New England hasn’t had to win this way in two decades: Tom Brady was able to elevate the talent around him on offense, while Belichick found diamonds in the rough on defense who fit into the Patriots’ scheme.
Kraft appears well aware of the role reversal, and that championships aren’t won on paper.
“I do remember we always made fun of the teams that spent a lot in the offseason,” Kraft said.
We’ll soon find out if other teams will be making fun of New England’s free spending, or if Belichick’s new-look group will go on a revenge tour in 2021.
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