Drew Rosenhaus has played a central role in the Patriots’ aggressive approach to free agency this year.
The longtime agent worked with Patriots coach Bill Belichick on several deals so far, including big signings such as tight end Jonnu Smith, defensive tackle Davon Godchaux and defensive back Jalen Mills, as well as help engineer the return of offensive tackle Trent Brown, all of whom are Rosenhaus clients.
So what happened? Speaking on “The Peter King Podcast,” Rosenhaus said he anticipated Belichick and the Patriots being “hungry” after last year’s 7-9 finish, which helped set the stage for a flurry of signings. And New England had the financial flexibility to make major moves.
“They had the money out there, and they were hungry. I just got the sense that Coach Belichick was hungry,” Rosenhaus said. “I got the feeling that last year didn’t sit very well with them. I got the feeling they weren’t content missing the playoffs. And I got the sense that they were going to do a lot to improve their football team.
“They had an advantage this year that most teams didn’t have. They had the [cap] room, they have a great owner in Robert Kraft. He’s got cash. They’ve always been a team that’s been able to get deals done and been aggressive when they’ve wanted to be.”
Rosenhaus said Belichick and the Patriots had a knack for good timing.
“I think we all agree that Belichick is very good at taking advantage of opportunities, and he did this year,” said Rosenhaus. “He knew there were a lot of teams that didn’t have cap room and wouldn’t have the ability to go out and add great football players.
“And he did the exact opposite; he went and did that. He went and improved his football team by leaps and bounds,” he added. “I think everybody would agree this roster is incredibly improved from the one that they ended the season with.”
Belichick and Rosenahus have been working together for 20-plus years, dating to Belichick’s time as head coach of the Browns. The two have been agreed on a number of deals, and that familiarity — as well as the knowledge that Belichick is the ultimate decision-maker when it comes to the Patriots — also helped, from Rosenhaus’s perspective.
“I like dealing with decision-makers,” Rosenhaus said. “A lot of the teams, you deal with team negotiators, and they’re not the decision-makers. And that’s tough, because you can’t make the deal with them. What I really like about dealing with Bill Belichick above everything else is the fact that he is the decision-maker, from my estimation. And I like that.
“[He] kind of cuts to the chase. You’re obviously dealing with a future Hall of Famer, and probably the greatest coach in the history of the NFL, so you have a lot of reverence for him,” he added. “But he’s certainly respectful, and I think he’s a misunderstood personality. Anybody that has gotten to know him as well as I have I think would agree with me that he can be very engaging and very likable. So my dealings with him are always very positive.”
Christopher Price can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at cpriceglobe.