Bob Kraft signs the Patriots’ checks and makes a lot of major decisions relating to the team, but ultimately, he’s not the one who’s going to decide what way the club goes in terms of its next quarterback.
He said as much in his comment Wednesday after the NFL owners’ meetings when asked about Cam Newton being able to lead the Pats back to respectability and possibly contention.
“Well, look, Cam is a terrific guy. I really enjoyed getting to know him last year,” the owner said during a conference call. “I’ll tell you this, players on the team in the locker room really love the guy. So in the end, I trust coach Belichick’s ability to build a team and put the right players in the best position to succeed. Over the last couple of decades, he’s done OK.”
“When I’m privileged to have good managers all over the world,” he continued, “we give those people autonomy, and we let them do their thing.”
That doesn’t mean Kraft lacks opinions on Newton and backup Jarrett Stidham, whom Kraft called a “great young man”, complimenting him for holding an informal passing camp with teammates last week in California.
On Newton, Kraft thinks there were too many factors working against the quarterback for the Pats to have gotten a true assessment of his capabilities.
“I think in fairness to Cam, I’m not sure he had the proper weapons around him last year. And then he got COVID, and there were a lot of things that happened,” Kraft said. “And I really do believe that the Cam getting COVID and what it did to the team, it changed a lot when we were in a good place. Now we’ll have a chance to see.”
Nonetheless, the Pats’ quarterback depth chart isn’t written stone as the calendar turns to April and Kraft sounded open to anything his football people decide, especially when it comes to a quarterback for the post-Newton years.
“We all know long-term we have to find a way, either Jarrett Stidham or someone new we bring in,” Kraft said. “But this isn’t something where you get algebraic formulas. Think of all the personnel whizzes who passed for six rounds on Tom Brady in 2000. No one knows what’s going to happen, so we had to balance everything.
“Look, the quarterback is the most important position on the team. We know that. He touches the ball over 70 times a (game), so one way or another, we have to get that position solidified.”