Ex-Patriot believes Kraft's motivation could lead to 'splash moves'

Robert Kraft

Robert Kraft expected the New England Patriots to return to relevance in 2022. That didn't happen. So, might the Patriots owner take a more hands-on approach in 2023 to ensure that does happen?

Former Patriots offensive lineman Damien Woody subscribes to that theory. Woody, who won two Super Bowl titles during his five-year stint with New England (1999 to 2003), believes the team's relative lack of success in recent years will motivate Kraft to advocate for drastic action this offseason.

"I know this has to be eating Mr. Kraft up, that the Patriots are basically irrelevant," Woody told the Boston Herald's Karen Guregian. "I know it has to. So go out there and make a couple of splash moves. Bring some spice and some relevance back to the Patriots. Make it interesting."

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Kraft has been a relatively hands-off owner in New England, giving head coach/de facto general manager Bill Belichick the agency to do what's in the best interest of the team. But after his team missed the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, Kraft seemingly has been more involved this offseason: He met with Belichick shortly after the regular season, per our Tom E. Curran, and out of that meeting came an unprecedented announcement that the team would conduct a formal search for a new offensive coordinator.


So, it appears Kraft played at least some role in ensuring Matt Patricia wouldn't return as the Patriots' offensive play-caller after a disastrous 2022 campaign, and in New England hiring a seasoned offensive coordinator in Bill O'Brien.

Woody believes O'Brien's hire is a good first step, but that the team also needs to bring in a talented pass-catcher via free agency, trade or the NFL Draft.

"I think they made a step in the right direction bringing Billy O back, because that was madness what they were doing last year," Woody added. "So I’m glad they got a guy who knows what he’s doing.

"But they need weapons. They need difference makers on offense. It’s not good enough just getting Billy O'Brien back. They need actual guys on the field that will make a difference."

Woody noted that the time for the Patriots to strike is now, since Jones is on his rookie contract through 2024 and the team has upwards of $ 30 million in cap space this offseason. One option for New England to use that money is re-signing favorite Mac Jones target Jakobi Meyers in free agency and targeting a wide receiver with the No. 14 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Of course, Belichick may have a different plan in mind, but it will be interesting to monitor whether the Patriots make that "splash" that Woody mentioned -- and if so, what role Kraft played in calling for that move.