Patriots Notes: Kraft, Mayo, Caserio

Following a 24-year partnership, the Patriots and Bill Belichick mutually decided to part ways today. While the divorce didn’t necessarily come as a surprise, the organization’s handling of the separation raised some eyebrows.

[RELATED: Patriots, Bill Belichick To Part Ways]

Leading up to today’s announcement, there were rumblings that a number of teams would have interest in adding Belichick. Considering the iconic head coach was still under contract for another year, there was some speculation that the Patriots may try to squeeze compensation out of any suitors. However, much like how Robert Kraft handled the Tom Brady divorce, the owner thought his head coach deserved to pursue whatever opportunity he wanted.

“I didn’t think it was right for Tom Brady, who gave us 20 years, and I don’t think it’s right for Bill,” Kraft told reporters (via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero).

There was a recent sentiment from some within the organization that Belichick hadn’t “lost his fastball” from a coaching perspective. Instead, many were questioning Belichick’s personnel decisions, whether it was regarding the draft, free agency, and even some of his coaching hires. That led some to wonder if Belichick would willingly cede personnel authority in order to stick around New England as head coach.

However, while Kraft acknowledged that he thought of such an arrangement, he never believed it would work. The owner told reporters that such a move would “create confusion with accountability” (as Jeff Howe of The Athletic passes along).

Belichick’s exit creates a vacancy on both the sideline and the front office. A number of Patriots-related coaches have been connected to the HC gig; former players Jerod Mayo and Mike Vrabel are both considered major contenders to take over. In fact, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport passes along that Mayo’s recent deal with the organization includes a “firm, contractual succession plan,” details that were passed along to the NFL. While the Patriots have no obligation to name Mayo as their next head coach, Rapoport notes that the organization doesn’t have to go through the hiring process if Mayo is indeed the choice.

Naturally, the same logic is being used with the front office, but one familiar face doesn’t have interest in a reunion. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe recently passed along that the Patriots could be eyeing former director of player personnel Nick Caserio to lead their front office. However, the current Texans general manager denied the rumors during a recent appearance on Sports Radio 610.

“Whoever these reporters are that make these ridiculous statements, maybe you want to talk to me about it first before putting information out there that has zero basis,” Caserio said during the appearance (via Tyler Milner of Sports Radio 610).

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