Robert Kraft didn’t hold back in free agency.
The New England Patriots owner, after missing the postseason in their first year without Tom Brady since he entered the league, paid out nearly $160 million in guaranteed money, an NFL record.
Linebacker Matthew Judon, tight end Jonnu Smith, wide receiver Nelson Agholor and more all landed new deals.
“If there was ever a year, this would be a year to do it,” Kraft said, via The Associated Press.
While it would have been easy to assume that Kraft’s spending has a lot to do with Brady’s success down in Tampa — he won Super Bowl LV with the Buccaneers in his first season away from the Patriots while New England finished below .500 for the first time since 2000 — he insists that wasn’t the case.
“I love Tom Brady, and he’s great. But he’s moved on. What happened here last year was not something to our liking and we had to make the corrections,” Kraft said, via The Associated Press.
“When you say ‘How did I feel?’ — it was horrible. After my family, the Patriots are the most important thing in my life. The bottom line here is winning. That’s what this business is, and when we don’t, it’s not a good feeling.”
Cam Newton didn’t have ‘the proper weapons’
Quarterback Cam Newton, a former NFL MVP, struggled in New England last year, too.
Newton threw for a career-low 2,657 yards and just eight touchdowns with 12 interceptions in his 10th season in the league — though he played in just two games in 2019.
He did, though, get a new one-year, $3.5 million guaranteed deal.
While his performance obviously isn’t what Kraft and the Patriots had hoped, Kraft thinks that Newton has a pretty good excuse.
“I’m not sure he had the proper weapons around him, then he got COVID,” Kraft said, via The Associated Press. “When he got going, he was playing pretty well. But he’s more familiar with what goes on here, just like younger players from last year. And we’ll see what happens this year.”
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