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Robert Kraft explains the collaborative approach of Patriots' front office

Jerod Mayo officially introduced as New England Patriots head coach
Jerod Mayo officially introduced as New England Patriots head coach 10:34

FOXBORO -- Jerod Mayo was officially introduced as the new head coach of the Patriots on Wednesday. Now the question is, who will be building up his roster in New England?

This is a massive offseason for the Patriots, and it goes beyond just naming a new head coach for the first time in a quarter of a century. The silver lining to that awful 4-13 record in 2023 is that the team now owns the third overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, putting them in a position to land a new franchise quarterback or another game-changing player for the offensive side of the ball. The Pats also have a large chunk of cap space to try and fill the various holes up and down the roster.

Who will be dishing out contracts when free agency hits in March? And who will be turning in that draft card on April 25?

That was the first question owner Robert Kraft received after he and Mayo delivered their opening statements on Wednesday. And Kraft didn't offer up much, wanting to keep the focus on his new head coach.

But he did say they'd look into outside options for the front office, and someone would be appointed at some point. He did not, however, say what position they'd be appointed to. So the process right now will be a collaboration among those already in place.

"What we know, and we have a lot of people internally who have had a chance to train and learn under the greatest coach of all time -- a man who as a football intellect is very special. In the short term, we're looking for collaboration," explained Kraft. "Our team has a tremendous opportunity to position ourselves right given our salary cap space, and we've never drafted -- in my 30 years of ownership -- as low as we're drafting. We're counting on our internal people, whom we're still learning and evaluating. We're going to let that evolve and develop. Before key decisions have to be made, we will appoint someone.

"We'll probably start doing interviews and looking at people from the outside," Kraft added. "But my bias has always been in my companies to develop a culture from within where we understand one another."

The Patriots haven't had a general manager -- at least in title -- for the last 31 seasons, and Belichick had control of the roster for the majority of his 24-year run with the team. New England front office members Eliot Wolf, Matt Groh, and Steve Cargile were all on hand for Mayo's press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, and are the likeliest candidates to be bumped up to the top role in the front office -- if New England chooses to go the in-house route.

"We want to see what we have in house, see what's out there in the marketplace, and then do what we think is right. I know people have ideas, but I can assure you that any decision we make will be to give the support to Jerod and put the organization in the best position it can to win games," Kraft said.

The owner also debunked the idea that he and his son, Jonathan Kraft, will have a hand in the decision-making process.

"It will be the same input that we've had for the last three decades: We try to hire the best people we can find and let them do their job and hold them accountable," he said. "If you get involved and tell them what to do or try to influence them, you can't hold them responsible and have them accountable. It'll be within the people's discretion who are the decision makers to do it, and if we've hired the wrong people, then we'll have to make a change. But we're going to try to enjoy it as fans."  

Mayo will have plenty on his plate as a first-year head coach. It sounds like he'll have a say in the moves the team makes or is looking to make, but he's all for the collaborative process in place right now.

"I believe in leaning on experts in their field. Will we always do what that expert advises us? Absolutely not," he said Wednesday. "But I said as a rookie, I wanted to be a sponge and learn as much as I can. We have a lot of people in this building that I can learn from."

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