For 20 years the New England Patriots have been conservative at best during Free Agency. But after breaking the record for most guaranteed money spent in Free Agency, Robert Kraft was excited and described the approach as strategic.
Rob Kraft purchased the team in 1994 for $172M. Across the 19 free agents that the Patriots signed in 2021, they have already dealt over $162M. And with deals still to be announced and accounted for, the number is only going to be higher.
Patriots have only spent $53.2 million in guaranteed money over the past three off-seasons (3rd-lowest)
They’ve already spent $52.8 million in guaranteed money this offseason 🤯🤑 pic.twitter.com/K6CZgCpNiG
— PFF (@PFF) March 15, 2021
The highest guaranteed money contracts were given to former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon ($32 million), former Tennessee Titans tight end Jonnu Smith ($31.25 million) and former Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry ($25 million).
A barrage of favorable circumstances fell in the lap of the Patriots in 2021. Thus unlike years prior, the Pats were in a unique position and took complete advantage of it.
Bill Belichick on the Patriots’ signings: pic.twitter.com/6LzWiOJkMm
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) March 19, 2021
Robert Kraft said the New England Patriots Over-The-Top Spending Was a Calculated Bet
“It’s like investing in the stock market,” Kraft said, according to the “Football Morning In America” column. “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.”
Robert Kraft loved the Patriots’ free-agency spending spree. 💯💸 pic.twitter.com/BRSQ7Mw4rl
— theScore (@theScore) March 22, 2021
Robert Kraft explained that the abundance of cap space, which was an uncommon occurrence for the Patriots, was the driving force behind the spending. Kraft added “Instead of having 10 or 12 teams competing for most of the top players, there were only two or three” — a result of the NFL’s salary cap having dropped from $198.2 million to $182.5 million because of the coronavirus pandemic.
2021 cap numbers of the Patriots signings this offseason
Agholor – $7M
Henry – $6.875M
Judon – $6.375M
Jonnu Smith – $5.6875M
Jalen Mills – $4.5625M
Davon Godchaux – $4.0625M
Deatrich Wise – $3.25M
Kendrick Bourne – $3,119,791
Henry Anderson – $2.75M
Carl Davis – $859,375
— Cap Space=$25,091,949 Missing details for 5 deals (@patscap) March 17, 2021
Kraft also spoke to MMQB’s Albert Breer that,” I just want to compliment our staff, our organization, Bill, all the scouting and personnel people, for a real team effort. Look, we’re not going to know till the fall—we always used to make fun of the people who won the headlines in March—but here I believe we really improved our team.”
Robert Kraft to @AlbertBreer on Patriots’ moves: “Look, we’re not going to know till the fall – we always used to make fun of the people who won the headlines in March – but here I believe we really improved our team.”
— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) March 22, 2021
“We’re in this business to win.”
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) March 22, 2021
The New England Patriots lucked out with how things played out in Free Agency in 2021. Spending money in March is uncharacteristic for the Pats, but could pay off after their recent draft misses.
Teams that win in March, usually spend January on their couch. However, it won’t be a surprise to see Rob Kraft and the Patriots break that stereotype in 2021.