It seemed too convenient.
Tom Brady left the Patriots and led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl championship, so the Pats decided to spend more money in free agency than they ever have in attempt to save face after a 7-9 season.
But owner Bob Kraft, speaking publicly Wednesday with the New England media for the first time since Brady grabbed ring No. 7 and the Pats committed nearly $200 million in guaranteed money to free agents, didn’t draw a line between Brady’s success and the Pats’ spending.
“Look, 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 correction,” Kraft said. “In all businesses we’re involved in, we try to take advantage of inefficiencies in the market. In the paper business and anything. We were in a unique cap situation this coming year going forward and it allowed us to try things. We’d missed to a certain extent in the draft, so this was our best opportunity ... we just happened to be in a unique situation.
“So to be frank, no [this had nothing to do with Brady,” he continued. “This was about doing what was right for our team.”
Kraft, who said he would’ve “loved” Brady to stay here and retire as a Patriot, also expressed little regret about letting Brady leave last offseason.
“Well after 20 years with any player -- I’ll make this commitment with any player in the future -- any player that spends 20 years with us and helps us win six Super Bowls, we’re not going to keep [you from leaving],” Kraft said. “We could’ve, contract-wise, kept him … on our camp. But it’s just not the right thing and … naturally we want to win but who knows what would’ve happened if he stayed here. Look what happened at the end of his last season here.”
What happened in 2019 was a wild-card loss to Tennessee.
Now Brady has another ring and the Pats are left trying to pursue their next title with Cam Newton or Jarrett Stidham or someone else under center.