Mon, Mar 22, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
In an interview with ESPN’s “Football in America” column, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said that the organization is in the business of football to win.
Kraft did the interview just days after the team broke the NFL record for contracts with guaranteed money involving new signings.
"It's like investing in the stock market," Kraft said. "You take advantage of corrections and inefficiencies in the market when you can, and that's what we did here. We'll see. Nothing is guaranteed, and I'm very cognizant of that. But we're not in the business to be in business. We're in this business to win."
Kraft has been the owner of the Patriots since he purchased the franchise for $172 million in 1994. Since then, the Patriots have won six Super Bowl titles under head coach Bill Belichick and former quarterback Tom Brady.
The team signed 19 free agents when the new league year began this past week, some of whom played with the team in 2020. Those 19 contracts include $162.5 million in guaranteed money, but that number could increase as terms of the deals become known.
Matthew Judon, former Baltimore Ravens linebacker, signed for $32 million guaranteed. Jonnu Smith, a former Tennessee Titans tight end, signed for $31.25 million guaranteed. Hunter Henry, a former tight end for the Los Angeles Chargers, signed for $25 million guaranteed.
"In my 27 years as owner, I've never had to come up with so much capital before," Kraft said.
The Patriots missed the playoffs after going 7-9 in 2020, their first season without Brady under center in 20 years. It was the first time New England didn’t make the playoffs since 2008.
Belichick released a statement on Friday following all of the signings:
“We are excited about the additions to our roster so far this year. Whether by trade, free agency, or re-signings, the group brings a good mix of offense, defense, and special teams. It was great to see them in the building, including some familiar faces, and we are all looking forward to continue building toward the upcoming season."
Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the 2020 season and led them to the second Super Bowl title in franchise history this past February.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Kraft said,
"Well, I was really happy for him. He's a great guy, and he gave us 20 wonderful years, and he made the choice to do what he wanted to do. Look, I wasn't that happy to see him leave, but we gave him that opportunity to do it. And I want to say if we're not going to win, and someone's got to do it, I'm happy for him. He deserves it."
Among the players signed by the Patriots, quarterback Cam Newton will return to New England for the 2021 season after signing a one-year deal. His first year with the Patriots in 2020 did not go as well as he had hoped. He didn’t have many offensive weapons at his disposal. That should change this year with the additions of Smith and Henry at tight end.