The Patriots reportedly have spent less than any NFL team on players over the past decade. On Thursday, the owner of the Patriots argued that it’s not for lack of willingness to spend.
“I know there’s a perception that we have held back on spending,” Kraft told a group of reporters, via Phil Perry of NBCSportsBoston.com. “Let me just say, for our fans, that’s just not true. Look, we were blessed to have a coach in our system who was a great coach and also understood value. He ran a tight ship. . . . [O]ur coaches have always had the ability to spend at whatever level they wanted. I think Bill [Belichick] was always thinking about the future and really understood value. But we never held back with any of the coaches we’ve had over the last 30 years.”
Kraft has made similar comments in the past. Any decisions about spending weren’t his. They were made by the man to whom Kraft entrusted the entire football operation — the coach and de facto G.M.
“I can assure our fans that spending will never be held back or the reason that we don’t sign players,” Kraft added. “I’ve actually tried to get us to sign players who maybe would’ve cost more but wouldn’t have been the right players or value. So, we always leave that to the people we assign the responsibility to.”
Again, It was Bill.
“They’ve been able to get whatever they want,” Kraft said of the team’s football operations. “If cash spending became an issue for our family, and we couldn’t do it, then I would sell the team. Winning football games, after my family, is the most important thing in my life. Whatever we can do to help make that happen, we’re going to do.”
So, basically, the truth is that the Patriots haven’t spent much on players, relative to other teams. The perception is they’ve been trying to save money. Kraft sees it simply as the way Belichick did things.
“I’m sorry this misconception has been out there,” Kraft said. “I think people should just look at our record. We’re privileged over the last 30 years to have the best win-loss record of any team in sports. We went to 10 Super Bowls. There are teams that haven’t gone to one.”
Plenty of teams haven’t gone to one since Kraft bought the team in 1994, including the other three teams in the AFC East. Along with the Browns, Jaguars, Texans, Commanders, Vikings, and Lions.
Over the last 10 years, that list expands to include the Ravens, Steelers, Titans, Colts, Chargers, Raiders, Cowboys, Giants, Packers, Bears, Saints, Falcons, Panthers, and Cardinals.