Latest On Patriots’ Eliot Wolf Decision

The Patriots now officially have their top post-Bill Belichick pieces in place, naming Eliot Wolf their executive VP of player personnel nearly four months after hiring Jerod Mayo to replace the coaching legend on the sideline.

Filling these two jobs involved a historically low-volume search. After language in Mayo’s contract allowed the Patriots to work around the Rooney Rule — which mandates two external minority candidates be interviewed for HC positions — the team met with only two outside candidates for its de facto GM position. And the process leading to the Wolf hire proved to be a box-checking operation, as a few candidates around the league effectively predicted.

During search that saw three executives — the Bengals’ Trey Brown, the Bills’ Terrance Gray and former Cardinals staffer Quentin Harris — decline interviews, the Patriots met with Eagles scouting director Brandon Hunt and former Panthers exec Samir Suleiman. Neither interview took place at the team facility, according to’s Albert Breer, and the two candidates who agreed to interview did not meet with anyone beyond the Krafts.

Widely expected to end with Wolf being given the keys on a full-time basis, this Patriots search brought the combined total of outside candidates interviewed for the HC and GM jobs to two this offseason. By comparison, the Panthers met with 11 outside candidates for their HC post and eight non-Carolina-based staffers for their GM gig. The Chargers spoke with nine GM candidates and met with 13 outside coaches. The Commanders’ HC-GM search covered five GM aspirants and seven outside HC interviewees. The Raiders’ search most closely resembled the Patriots’, as they only met with two non-Antonio Pierce candidates for HC and five GM candidates.

The Pats, who have not given out a GM title in more than 30 years, gave Wolf a trial run by installing him as their acting personnel chief months before the draft, Breer adds. It would have been borderline shocking to see the team allow Wolf to select its hopeful long-term quarterback (No. 3 overall pick Drake Maye), turning down Giants and Vikings trade-up offers along the way, and then go with another candidate to lead the way post-draft. Most around the league correctly predicted New England would stick with Wolf, a longtime exec who had worked as the No. 2 man in Green Bay and Cleveland. Wolf later became a finalist for the Bears and Vikings’ GM jobs in 2022.

Wolf, 42, has changed the Patriots’ scouting system by replacing Belichick’s setup with what he used with the Packers; the Patriots will also switch up their workflow by having both Wolf and Mayo report to ownership. While this format can cause division, other teams have both their HC and GM meet directly with ownership rather than use a top-down approach.

Prior to Belichick’s exit, Matt Groh worked as his top lieutenant. The Patriots have employed Wolf since 2020, but the Krafts saw enough in the second-generation personnel man to vault him past Groh and into their top front office spot. Groh remains with the organization, but it will be Wolf — likely with more input from ownership compared to the Belichick era — leading the way.

Ownership did not conduct thorough searches to reach its Mayo-Wolf endpoint. That stands to be an important footnote as the team prepares for its first post-Belichick season.

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