Robert Kraft explains New England’s free agency splurge

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins
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While the circumstances weren’t as stirring as the moment Adrian emerged from a coma and Rocky offered not to mess with Creed no more and Adrian said that she wants him to do one thing for her and the big lummox leaned in and she said, “Win” as the bells started clanging, the motivations for the Patriots when spending like drunken rebels last week were identical.

The best organization in football for the part 20 years stepped out of character and signed big checks because it wants to win.

And it did so because it could, and because the planets aligned for the Patriots, who by a mixture of happenstance and strategy found themselves in the position to have a huge amount of cap space — thanks in large part to the $25 million difference between where the cap would have been but for the pandemic, and where it is.

“It’s like investing in the stock market,” owner Robert Kraft told Peter King for his latest Football Morning in America column. “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.”

The opportunity to go all in came from the rare situation of having so much cap room — and from having a roster that sorely needed more talent.

“We had the second or third-most cap room at the start of free agency,” Kraft told King, who points out that the Pats were third, with a $69 million excess. “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.”

There’s irony in the outcome, however. The Patriots opted in 2021 to do the thing that the Patriots have privately ridiculed others for doing.

“[W]e always made fun of the teams that spent a lot in the offseason,” Kraft told King. “So we know nothing is guaranteed, and I’m very cognizant of that.”

That’s what makes this experiment so fascinating. Whether it works or whether it doesn’t, the Patriots are consciously and deliberately doing something that the Patriots have resisted in the past, because the Patriots believe it doesn’t work. This year, as the Patriots rebound from their first losing season since 2000, opportunity and necessity have collided. We’ll find out whether the end result is chocolate and peanut butter, or a far less palatable combination.

21 responses to “Robert Kraft explains New England’s free agency splurge

  1. Situational football, baby. It makes sense to spend in a year when you have a lot of cap space, plus a lot of personnel needs, and on top of that the market for FA players isn’t as competitive. And “overpaying” is a different concept in 2021 when you consider that the cap will likely explode in 2022 and 2023. The other factor in play may be how the Patriots view this year’s draft class. It’s not as easy to assess draft talent this year, so maybe they’re considering it less of a gamble to spend in free agency than to make picks in the draft. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make deals with some draft picks.

  2. …and they will lose…in a most embarrassing way. Then, find themselves with a ton of dead money in the near future from high dollar, players with their best efforts behind them now that they have been duly “paid”.
    If NFL history has taught us anything, it’s that a championship team are not built from free agency.

    Tom was always the common denominator, and now he’s a gone.

  3. …and they will lose…in a most embarrassing way. Then, find themselves with a ton of dead money in the near future from high dollar players with their best efforts behind them now that they have been duly “paid”.
    If NFL history has taught us anything, it’s that a championship team are not built from free agency.

    Tom was always the common denominator, and now he’s a gone.

  4. This is called the “Brady Effect”

    When TB was with NE, BB & Kraft were cheap on Brady because TB was the ‘KEY’ to those SB wins.

    TB leaves the NE, wins 7th SB, proving he was the ‘KEY’ and now, after 20 Years, BB & Kraft go on a splurge.

    As I said before over the years, Brady would be on his 9th SB right now had BB not intereferred in the Draft and had Kraft demanded TB get the weapons he needed.

  5. As a NE fan, it is exciting to see what they did in FA. Addressed a bunch of needs, one can only hope they trade up in the top 5 for one of the future QB’s. Also hoped for more from the WR position. Still looks like BUF has a hold on the division.

  6. Belichick never won anything unless OTHERS gave him top 10 offense or stayed on fields for long long time.

    Can anyone give me a reason why Belichick is better than Todd Bowles?

  7. If you are going to spend like drunken sailors, this is the year to do it. Kraft is right, so few teams had cap space and more guys were available because of the shrinking cap, it was a year to spend if you got it…

  8. His last statement is the most telling: “[W]e always made fun of the teams that spent a lot in the offseason,” Kraft told King. “So we know nothing is guaranteed, and I’m very cognizant of that.”

    Even Kraft is hedging his bets. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, not a huge surprise.

  9. March 22, 2021 at 8:14 am
    …and they will lose…in a most embarrassing way. Then, find themselves with a ton of dead money in the near future from high dollar players with their best efforts behind them now that they have been duly “paid”.
    If NFL history has taught us anything, it’s that a championship team are not built from free agency.

    Tom was always the common denominator, and now he’s a gone.
    =============================

    And yet that is exactly how TB won it last year.

  10. William Lee says:
    March 22, 2021 at 11:22 am
    Belichick never won anything unless OTHERS gave him top 10 offense or stayed on fields for long long time.

    Can anyone give me a reason why Belichick is better than Todd Bowles?

    I’d bet most fans could give you 8 reasons.

  11. I’d bet most fans could give you 8 reasons.

    ———————
    karmacalled,

    I don’t see one, unless they believe that the reason Brady was able to turn cheap receivers into play makers (SINCE 2001!!) was that Belichick was BeliCHEAP.

  12. Belichick thinks strategically several season ahead. Last year was obviously going to be a down year for the Pats and playing the kind of salary cap games other GMs did just to win a few more games didn’t make sense. Now’s the Time to reap the rewards of patience. In volitile times, anything can happen but the Pats are in position to greatly improve their team quickly.

  13. Last year was obviously going to be a down year for the Pats.

    ———————————

    That is not what Belichick’s believers said after they signed Cam last year.

    I am sure that Cam will be the scapegoat, AGAIN, if Pats fail to make playoff in 2021.

  14. New England splurged in Free agency because Bill Belichick’s ego and pride is on the line,after watching Tom Brady leave and win the super bowl with Tampa Bay.

  15. New England splurged in Free agency because Bill Belichick’s ego and pride is on the line,after watching Tom Brady leave and win the super bowl with Tampa Bay.

    ____

    Yup. They should have just sat on the 60 million and not spent it. That certainly would have helped out their team. (sarcasm)

  16. All teams spend about the same amount every year, so NE adding a bunch of FAs only meant that they did not give those big contracts to guys they themselves ad drafted. You can criticize BB for bad drafting, but what difference does it make now? They filled those slots with players they liked better.

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