Patriots Talk Podcast

Making sense of Pats waiting until after draft to hire a GM

Why are the Krafts waiting to name a new GM? Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry share a possible explanation.

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With one month until the start of free agency and two months until the 2024 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots haven't officially hired a general manager to replace Bill Belichick.

Eliot Wolf will reportedly be in charge of personnel decisions this spring, but neither he nor director of player personnel Matt Groh will have an official GM title. Team owners Robert and Jonathan Kraft will likely wait until after the draft to give Wolf or another candidate the GM job.

It's a curious decision given the importance of this Patriots offseason. Would the Krafts really hire a new GM after letting Wolf and Groh handle free agency and the draft?

Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry attempted to make sense of it all on a new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast.

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"We talked to Robert Kraft on the day Jerod Mayo was unveiled as head coach. We talked to him about what the timeline would be and the approach would be on hiring a personnel person," Curran said. "He said he would appoint someone. The indications we're getting is that will still be part of the process that the Patriots go through. They will appoint someone. They have not gone through any kind of a search yet. I'm gathering, though, after coming back from Las Vegas, that they do intend to do a search after the draft.

"Why? And would you allow for instance Eliot Wolf and Matt Groh to get supplanted after they've chosen the third overall pick and made all their free-agent signings? Why would you not just either A) do the search now or B) appoint the guy?"

Perry shared one possible explanation for the Krafts' reluctance to officially name a new personnel lead.

"I think to officially appoint anyone as their lead personnel person, they'd have to open that up to the Rooney Rule. You have to start a real search process and that means interviewing two external minority candidates," Perry explained. "Now, why would you not do that now? You might not do it now because number one, you believe Eliot Wolf is a qualified general manager and you like him, and you feel as though he's ready. He's been in the number two role at a couple of different franchises, you've gotten to know him if you're the Krafts here in New England over the last several years, you like him. And you don't want to necessarily open up a search because you think he can handle it, A) and B), opening up a search requires time and energy. ...

"You're trying to build a staff, you're trying to get ready for free agency, it's too much. It's too much change all at once. So, you like this guy Eliot. You think he could be a GM. You want to give him the title officially. You want to put it in writing he's the lead personnel person, he's got the say of the 53-man roster, all that. But if you do that, you've got to open it up to a search. So you hold off as long as you can, you allow Eliot maybe unofficially to have final say, and then after the draft when there's more time, you go through the due diligence process, you go through the interview process, you satisfy the Rooney Rule."

Perry adds that even if the Patriots conduct a GM search, it could really end up being an interview process looking for a second in command.

"I think there's the potential for them to add a body to the front office whether it's a football czar or it's as a number two, whether it's a vice president of player personnel or some sort of similar title," Perry added. "Maybe that's the result of your search.

"But I do wonder if they're opening themselves up to some criticism, which I think would be fair, that they kind of already know who they want their general manager to be, and whenever they have interviews it's not really going to be for the general manager job, it's going to be to satisfy the Rooney Rule, which is not really the purpose of the Rooney Rule."

Also in this episode:

  • Is Brock Purdy enough to win a Super Bowl?
  • Can the Patriots follow the Bengals’ blueprint?
  • Why waiting another year to draft a QB does not make sense
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