New England Patriots

Jerod Mayo claims he ‘misspoke' about Patriots' FA spending plans

"You don't have to spend it all in one year."

NBC Universal, Inc.

Jerod Mayo wants to reset expectations for the New England Patriots in free agency.

Shortly after he was named Patriots head coach, Mayo suggested in a radio interview with WEEI's The Greg Hill Show that his team planned to spend big in 2024 free agency.

"We’re bringing in talent, 1,000 percent,” Mayo said. "Have a lot of cap space, and cash. Burn some cash."

The Patriots indeed have plenty of cash -- $78 million in cap space, third-most in the NFL -- but Mayo issued a notable retraction of sorts this week on how they'd use it.

"I kind of misspoke when I said ‘burn some cash,'" Mayo told MassLive's Karen Guregian. "But I was excited when you see those numbers. When you reflect on those numbers ... you don’t have to spend all of it in one year."

" ... This is going to be a process. So I don’t want people to think, ‘you got 60 million dollars, 70 million, whatever, so let’s get this guy, that guy, that guy … it may work for a couple games, or maybe a season, but it won’t work long term."

That quote should raise a few eyebrows and make Patriots fans wonder if the free-agent spending spree Mayo initially promised might be much smaller than expected. But why would Mayo walk back his comments now?

As our Patriots Insider Phil Perry recently explained, it all ties back to Eliot Wolf.

New England's new head of personnel spent more than a decade in the Green Bay Packers' front office and spoke at length in his introductory press conference about emulating the "Packer Way" in Foxboro. That includes an emphasis on drafting and developing homegrown talent -- and not necessarily splurging on outside free agents.

"The one thing that I think Patriots fans might not love when it comes to this direction ... is that the Packer Way isn't exactly about burning cash in free agency," Perry said this week on NBC Sports Boston's Arbella Early Edition, as seen in the video above. "So I wonder if they sit out on some of the star players in free agency, especially at the receiver position, because that's where the big names seem to be."

🔊 Next Pats: DRAFT and DEVELOP: Eliot Wolf is bringing the Packer Way to the Patriots | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

To Perry's point, the Packers have never been big free-agent spenders. The majority of their best skill-position players over the past decade-plus, from Jordy Nelson to Randall Cobb to Davante Adams to Eddie Lacy to Aaron Jones, were all Packers draft picks.

Wolf even admitted a preference for spotlighting "young players" not acquired via free agency.

"I think there is going to be a little bit more reliance on playing young players," Wolf said. "I think it's really important to play young players and develop from within."

The Patriots still plan to spend in free agency. They have needs at several important positions -- notably quarterback, wide receiver, offensive tackle and tight end -- and they can't address all of them through the NFL Draft. Wolf's philosophy and Mayo's comments shouldn't rule out the team signing a big-ticket wideout like Calvin Ridley or offensive tackle like Jonah Williams.

There's a reason Mayo walked back his comments instead of doubling down, however, and don't be surprised if New England is more fiscally responsible than Mayo initially let on.

Contact Us