Patriots Looking To Hire High-Ranking Front Office Staffer

Eliot Wolf is now running the show in New England, working as the de facto GM in the wake of Bill Belichick‘s exit. Officially, however, Wolf said his title is unchanged. He remains the Patriots’ director of scouting, and the team is looking to add another high-level piece to its front office equation.

Combine buzz pointed to the Patriots being set to interview candidates for a prominent front office role, according to’s Karen Guregian, Mark Daniels and Chris Mason. Wolf’s increased responsibilities have been well documented this offseason, though MassLive indicates the upcoming round of interviews — set to be conducted after the draft — could be for a GM role.

With Belichick in place as the team’s top decision-maker, the Patriots have not employed a regular GM this century. This led to the greatest 20-year run in NFL history, though Belichick’s recent performance ultimately paved a path out of Foxborough. Wolf has been running the Patriots’ pre-draft process and sat in on coaching interviews with Jerod Mayo.

It would certainly be interesting if the Patriots were prepared to make another major change after the draft, but MassLive points to Wolf eventually being named general manager. Were the Patriots to conduct an actual GM search, they would need to comply with the Rooney Rule, which mandates two external minority candidates be interviewed. Several experienced GM candidates have expressed interest in the role already, according to MassLive.

Teams in transition regularly change personnel after the draft, preferring to keep scouting staffers in their roles to preserve continuity. GM changes can take place following the draft. Teams like the Jets, Texans and Bills fired GMs after the draft in the late 2010s, with the Chiefs canning theirs (John Dorsey) in summer 2017. Wolf has been a GM candidate in the past, and given his role thus far this offseason, it would be a bit surprising to see him return to a lieutenant-type role under an outside hire.

Wolf is already making one key change before the draft. The Patriots are scrapping Belichick’s prospect evaluation system and shifting to the one the Packers used during Wolf and recent hire Alonzo Highsmith‘s Green Bay tenure, according to the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin.

I think it makes it a lot easier for scouts to rate guys and put them in a stack of, like, ‘This guy’s the best, this guy’s the worst,’ and everything in between falls into place,” Wolf said. “It’s actually been really encouraging. The scouts have been really open to it; some guys have been here 20 years with the old system.”

Wolf said his system will account for value better than the one the Patriots had been using under Belichick, who had launched his system back when he was in place as the Browns’ HC in the early 1990s. Scouts should also expected to have more input than they did under Belichick, per the Boston Sports Journal’s Mike Giardi.

It would surprise to see Wolf given the power to overhaul the Patriots’ grading system only to then hire a different decision-maker to head up matters, so the upcoming hire may well be to work under Wolf than vice versa. But a new voice could soon be joining Wolf and director of player personnel Matt Groh in the Pats’ front office.

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