Patriots Talk Podcast

Making sense of Patriots' unusual GM search post-NFL Draft

The Patriots are conducting their GM search at an unusual time.

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The New England Patriots have reportedly begun a search for their next general manager, even though Eliot Wolf just led the franchise through NFL free agency and the most important draft for the franchise in 30 years.

The Patriots have already had multiple candidates reportedly turn down interview opportunities for this job. And it makes sense, too, given the reports that Wolf is the clear favorite to get the job.

On the latest episode of NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry tried to make sense of the whole process.

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"It is so widely viewed, based on the people who I've spoken to -- people who would be well aware of what's going on with the situation right now -- it is so widely viewed that this is Eliot Wolf's job," Perry said.

"I think outside of just getting the experience (of interviewing), and there's something to be said for that. But outside of that, I'm not really sure why you would interview for the job if you have an understanding already that the job is going to someone else.

"So this is a source of frustration for a lot of different people, whether it's executives, head coaches. The Rooney Rule is there with good intentions, but it also leads to, at times, situations where people feel as though their time is being wasted. And I think that's why some of the people who have been invited to interview have opted not to."

It's hard to justify the timing of this GM search process, too. These searches typically are done early in the offseason, before free agency and the draft. But this search is essentially being done in the opposite order.

And as Perry notes, it's not like the Patriots had to focus a lot of their time and effort in January to a head coaching search. They knew Jerod Mayo was going to replace Bill Belichick, so they had ample time and opportunities to do a proper GM search before the offseason really ramped up in late February with the NFL Scouting Combine.

"I've spoken to people in the last 24 hours who have basically said, why again did they wait until now to do this? Why couldn't they do this when everyone else was doing it? And what I was told at the time was, well, it's too much," Perry said. 

"It's just all too much. For all this to happen at the same time, it's just a little too much. Bill Belichick's gone, Jerod Mayo's taking over. But it's been pointed out to me by people in the league that they didn't even go through a real head coaching search. There are teams all the time that go through both of these searches in one offseason in January.

"And yeah, is there a lot to do? Is there a lot to get accomplished? Sure. But the Patriots checked one box by having it written into Jerod Mayo's contract that he was going to succeed Bill Belichick as head coach. So they didn't even have to worry about a head coaching interview.

"So I think there are people in football now who look at it and say that excuse of we just didn't want to do too much all at the same time as an illegitimate one because they had plenty of time to go through a proper process at the more typical time, and they opted not to. If they're getting criticized, whether it's in the league or in the media, etc., I think it's fair because the timing of this does not make much sense at all."

If Wolf does end up being the GM after this process, it certainly wouldn't be a bad thing. We still haven't seen any of their recent draft picks on the field yet, but the Patriots' 2024 draft class did get pretty high reviews and grades from experts around the league.

Instead of trading down and stockpiling more picks, the Patriots finally focused on drafting for need at premium positions they lacked quality depth and talent in, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

There's a lot to like about Wolf, but ultimately, his success or failure will be tied to the product on the field. The most important thing he can do is make sure new quarterback Drake Maye has the required amount of talent around him to succeed. The success of the franchise depends on Maye's development over the next couple of years.

Also in this episode:

  • Reaction to Tom Brady roast
  • Rookie minicamp preview
  • Into the archives when Jerod Mayo was a co-host
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