LAS VEGAS — Ahead of an offseason in which the Patriots are slated to have significant salary cap room, owner Robert Kraft said the organization’s front office will have the freedom to spend.
“I know there’s a perception that we have held back on spending,” Kraft said Thursday in an otherwise off-the-record conversation. “Let me just say, for our fans, that’s just not true.”
Last season, the Patriots ranked 31st in the NFL in cash spending at $209,450,254, about $100 million lower than the league-leading Ravens. The team historically has ranked near the bottom of the league in cash spending, as coach Bill Belichick argued that cap spending was a more significant and relevant number.
Kraft maintained that Belichick, the team’s de facto general manager, had the green light to spend as he wished throughout his 24-year tenure, which ended in January. According to Kraft, the team’s cash spending is reflective of Belichick’s decision-making. He also believes that New England’s results during that time should quell concerns about how much the team is spending.
Kraft said he advocated for the Patriots to sign higher-priced players, but ultimately deferred to the decision-makers that would know more about fit and value.
“Look, we were blessed to have a coach in our system who was a great coach and also understood value,” Kraft said. “He ran a tight ship. They say we’ve been low spenders in the last 10 years, and that might be true, but we had a pretty good record. And we won three Super Bowls. But our coaches have always had the ability to spend at whatever level they wanted.
“I think Bill 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. They’ve been able to get whatever they want. If cash spending became an issue for our family, and we couldn’t do it, then I would sell the team.”
As the Patriots approach a critical offseason — with a new coach in Jerod Mayo and a reshuffled front office — Kraft insisted that money will not be an obstacle moving forward. Mayo has said previously that the team is ready to “burn some cash.”
The Patriots are expected to have the third-highest amount of cap room in the league for 2024, behind only the Commanders and Titans.
“I can assure our fans that spending will never be held back or the reason that we don’t sign players,” Kraft said. “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. I’m sorry this misconception has been out there.”
Kraft, who spoke for about an hour with a small group of reporters, expressed excitement about the team’s future. In addition to their sizable cap space, the Patriots hold the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft.
“This is the first time in 31 years of ownership that we’re drafting at the position that we are, and have a chance to get some great players, and also have the cap room that we’ve carried over,” Kraft said. “I hope it positions us for the next few years beautifully. I’ve said that to the team. It’s pretty exciting. Now we’ve got to measure nine times and cut once.”