Eliot Wolf

No Timetable For Patriots QB Drake Maye To Enter Starting Lineup

The Patriots are hoping they found their QB of the future in third-overall pick Drake Maye. However, after signing veteran Jacoby Brissett as a seat-warmer, the organization isn’t in any rush to throw their rookie quarterback into the fire. While speaking with reporters, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said there’s no specific timetable to elevate Drake into the QB1 role.

“I think you have to take that as it comes,” Van Pelt said (via ESPN’s Mike Reiss). “There is no timetable. Jacoby, again, is our starter and he’s playing excellent football for us in the spring. And Drake is coming on. So until that changes, we’re going to stick with what we got.

“We always talk about earning your reps around here. So as he continues to grow and have successful practices and start stacking those, then we can think about moving him up the depth chart. It’s a process. It’s a marathon. We’re going to take our time and do it the right way.”

As the OC noted, there are still some skills that Maye has to develop before he can enter the starting lineup. While the rookie has quickly adapted to the team’s footwork requirements, he’s still a work in progress when it comes to “calling plays from the huddle.” While there is certainly enthusiasm for Maye’s inevitable ascension into the starting lineup, Van Pelt opines that this developmental time will only help the player’s long-term outlook.

“I think of it as a marathon over a sprint,” Van Pelt said. “You just don’t go out and run a marathon. You have to train properly for a marathon. It’s the same with a quarterback,” he said, when asked the key tenets of developing a rookie at the position.

“There’s a process. We follow that process. We trust that process. You can’t just stick a guy out there and expect him to be successful without the proper training. We’re making moves in the right direction.”

The coaching staff will naturally have a major say in Maye’s development, with Van Pelt and new head coach Jerod Mayo having significant influence over the decision. The OC revealed that the recently promoted Eliot Wolf, who is serving as New England’s executive vice president of player personnel, will also be involved with the decision.

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 SI.com’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.

Latest On Patriots’ Organizational Structure

During his lengthy tenure with the organization, Bill Belichick wielded enormous influence as head coach and de facto general manager of the Patriots. 2024 will mark the beginning of a notable transition both on the sidelines and in the front office.

Jerod Mayo succeeded Belichick as head coach, but New England briefly conducted a search for a new lead executive after the draft. To no surprise, that process produced only a shortlist of outside candidates willing to interview for the position before incumbent Eliot Wolf was given the title of EVP of player personnel. Wolf will control roster decisions and cap management among other GM-esque duties, but he will not have the autonomy Belichick previously enjoyed.

Prior to Wolf’s hire, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported Mayo and New England’s next lead executive will both report to owner Robert Kraft. That marks a stark departure from the Belichick era, when he had free reign on staffing and roster-building moves with little input from Kraft. Tension between the two grew in recent seasons, though, as the organization’s inability to find a genuine Tom Brady successor became apparent.

Quarterback was an understandable priority ahead of this year’s draft, the first with Wolf at the helm. Kraft and the Patriots’ ownership wanted to exit the opening round with a rookie signal-caller, and new England turned down considerable interest from both the Giants and Vikings for the No. 3 pick. Retaining that selection cleared the way for Drake Maye to be drafted, and he is now positioned to operate as the team’s starter as early as 2024.

Needless to say, how Maye fares during the years to come will be a central factor in determining Mayo and Wolf’s job security. It will be interesting to see how the new setup plays out with Kraft again being a central figure in key organizational decisions as the other two kick off their first career seasons in their respective positions. As New England looks to rebound from a 4-13 campaign in 2024, the team will simultaneously try out a new structure with respect to operations.

Patriots Name Eliot Wolf As Top Personnel Executive

The writing’s been on the wall for some time now, but the long-rumored favorite to take over lead front office duties in New England, vacated during the exit of former head coach Bill Belichick, will officially be taking the job.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network was the first to report that director of scouting Eliot Wolf, who had been acting this offseason as de facto general manager of the Patriots since Belichick’s departure, has officially been named the team’s executive vice president of player personnel.

The news may seem a bit underwhelming giving the lack of a “general manager” title, but it appears that Wolf’s promotion is essentially the Patriots’ action to fill that general manager role. New England has long been without an official general manager after owner Robert Kraft hired Belichick as head coach and name him “de facto” general manager, as well. That trend appears set to continue, according to Pelissero, as the team still won’t have a general manager in title.

That doesn’t lessen the importance of Wolf’s new position, though. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Wolf will oversee the overall direction of the player personnel department, will oversee management of the salary cap, and will be in control of the team’s 53-man active roster, all roles that are generally filled by a team’s general manager.

At 42 years old, Wolf has been in working in the NFL for 20 years. He first broke into the league as a pro personnel assistant with the Packers in 2004 before being promoted to assistant director of pro personnel in 2008 and assistant director of player personnel in 2011. A year later, Wolf was elevated to director of pro personnel before receiving promotions to director of player personnel in 2015 and director of football operations in 2016.

After two seasons in that role and 13 years in Green Bay, Wolf spent two years as the assistant general manager for the Browns under then-general manager John Dorsey. When Dorsey and the Browns parted ways, Wolf joined the Patriots in 2020 as a scouting consultant. For the last two years, Wolf has served as New England’s director of scouting. Wolf may not have been around for the era of the Patriots’ dynasty, but he does hold a Super Bowl ring from his time in Green Bay that saw seven NFC North titles and 10 playoff appearances.

Together with newly promoted head coach Jerod Mayo, Wolf helps to form a new, young top two under Kraft. Several years removed from the reign of Tom Brady and now without Belichick, it will be up to Mayo and Wolf to bring in a new era of success in New England.

2024 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

With the Patriots hiring Eliot Wolf as their de facto GM after having moved on from Bill Belichick, all five teams in need of a GM have filled their post this offseason. If other teams decide to make GM changes, they’ll be added to this list.

Updated 5-11-24 (4:35pm CT)

Carolina Panthers

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

Washington Commanders

Bills’ Terrance Gray Turns Down Patriots Interview Request; Eliot Wolf Favorite For Job

Seeking to install someone not named Bill Belichick atop their personnel pyramid for the first time since the 20th century, the Patriots are having some issues launching a true search. A third candidate for their top front office position has turned down an interview.

The Patriots requested a meeting with Bills director of player personnel Terrance Gray, according to SI.com’s Albert Breer, who adds Gray “politely” declined the interview. Gray’s refusal to meet with the Pats follows Bengals exec Trey Brown and veteran personnel exec Quentin Harris doing the same.

Gray, who interviewed for both the Chargers and Raiders’ GM jobs in January, has been with the Bills since 2017. Bills GM Brandon Beane hired Gray upon arrival seven years ago. Gray has held the title of Bills director of player personnel since 2022. The Bills reshuffled their front office — a process that led to the team elevating short-lived Texans GM Brian Gaine to assistant GM — following assistant GM Joe Schoen landing the Giants’ GM position two years ago.

Twenty years in as an NFL staffer, Gray logged 11 years in Minnesota under Rick Spielman and previously spent time in Kansas City as well. Gray’s presence during the Bills’ rise into an AFC power — after 17 missed playoff brackets between the Music City Miracle and the first Beane-Sean McDermott year — has naturally made him an attractive GM candidate.

The Pats appear to be having a difficult time convincing candidates this position will not ultimately go to Eliot Wolf, who has been operating as the team’s de facto GM for months. The veteran exec is viewed as the expected hire, Breer adds. This will be rather interesting, seeing as Wolf already shepherded the Patriots through a draft that produced the team’s hopeful franchise quarterback in Drake Maye. Robert Kraft letting Wolf, a Patriots staffer since March 2020, make that decision and then hiring someone else to run the team post-draft would be a strange shift for a team settling in post-Belichick.

A recent report suggested the Patriots had complied with the Rooney Rule, but the Boston Herald’s Doug Kyed offers that is not currently the case. Rumored to be planning a true search for a front office boss for a while, the Patriots complied with the Rooney Rule before the draft, per Kyed, due to no singular presence being atop the FO hierarchy. Now that the Pats are planning to name a front office leader, they need to interview at least two external minority candidates for GM and HC posts. Brown, Gray and Harris are each Black, but thus far, no known interviews with any external candidates have taken place.

Bengals’ Trey Brown Declines Patriots Interview

The Patriots have kicked off their search for a “top football executive,” but one of the team’s targets has already rejected an interview. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Bengals senior personnel executive Trey Brown has declined an interview for the Patriots’ de facto GM job.

[RELATED: Patriots Begin Top Executive Search]

A move to New England would be a bit of a reunion for Brown, as the 39-year-old started his front office career as a Patriots scout. He followed that up with a long stint in Philadelphia, where he eventually climbed to the role of Eagles director of college scouting. Brown had brief stints in the AAF and XFL before joining the Bengals as a scout in 2021. Following one year with the organization, he was promoted to his current role of senior personnel executive.

Brown’s rise through the Bengals organization coincided with the team’s on-field turnaround, and the executive garnered plenty of praise for his role in the operation. He first popped up on the GM carousel in 2022 when he earned an interview for the Raiders GM job. He got another look for the Raiders job this offseason but walked away empty handed. Considering his track record, Pelissero notes that Brown will remain a top GM candidate during next year’s hiring cycle.

While the Patriots have continually signaled that they’ll eventually be conducting a search for a front office leader, today’s development still comes as a bit of a surprise. After moving on from head coach/de facto GM Bill Belichick, the team basically handed the reins to Eliot Wolf, who retained his title of director of scouting. While the new-look Patriots relied on a group effort to fill the Belichick-sized void, Wolf played a major role in the team’s free agency and draft approach. With the roster pretty much set (and the organization having made a significant decision with Drake Maye at No. 3), the team will now curiously consider another executive to lead the way.

With that said, Wolf’s presence may cause some issues for Robert Kraft and the Patriots’ top decision makers. As Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes, the Patriots may have a tough time convincing candidates that Wolf isn’t “a lock to get the job.” For what it’s worth, Volin notes that the Patriots have already complied with the Rooney Rule in regards to their GM vacancy.

The Patriots haven’t employed a traditional GM since Kraft took over ownership of the organization. It sounds like the long-time owner is once again considering a creative approach to his front office.

Patriots Begin Top Executive Search

Eliot Wolf has been at the helm of the Patriots’ front office this offseason, holding down de facto general manager duties through the draft. As expected, however, New England is prepared to bring in another important executive in the near future.

CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones reports the Patriots have begun their search for a “top football executive.” Questions have been raised about whether or not a new hire would work alongside or underneath Wolf, but Jones adds the role being interviewed for is believed to be one which will “outrank all other football positions in the building.”

Wolf – brought in following his time with the Packers – received positive reviews leading up to the draft, and as such many have pointed to him being the ultimate choice for the unnamed executive position. As of the most recent update on the matter, Wolf is certainly still in the running to have his duties at the head of the personnel department carry on through the remainder of the offseason and beyond. Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald confirms that is the case as New England sends out external interview requests.

As Jones notes, there is precedent for teams waiting until well into the offseason and beyond the draft to hire a new general manager. On the other hand, the Patriots have not used a typical organizational structure during this century, with Bill Belichick operating as head coach but also the top decision-maker regarding roster building. With Belichick no longer in the fold, Jerod Mayo is handling his responsibilities on the sidelines.

In the front office, however, there is room for either a new executive to lead the personnel department or an enhanced title to be given to Wolf. The son of Ron Wolf has ushered in a new structure with respect to player evaluation and scouting for the draft, and much of his future will of course depend on how his decisions to date have been viewed by owner Robert Kraft.

New England turned down interest shown by both the Giants and Vikings in the third overall pick. By retaining the selection, the Patriots added Drake Maye as a potential franchise quarterback. That move was followed in short order by the team finalizing a monster extension with defensive tackle Christian Barmore (the largest non-Tom Brady deal in club history).

To say the least, Wolf has already made a number of critical decisions in his brief time at the helm. Kraft will thus have plenty to evaluate as he also meets with potential options to supplant Wolf. To satisfy the Rooney Rule, the Patriots’ search process must include at least two external minority candidates, and it will be interesting to see who the team reaches out to.

Patriots Still Planning To Conduct GM Interviews?

We have known for at least a month that, while Patriots director of scouting Eliot Wolf presently has final say over personnel decisions and will be operating as New England’s de facto general manager through the upcoming draft, the team plans to conduct interviews for a high-ranking front office executive after the draft is over. Those interviews could be for a GM, a hire that would shunt Wolf aside or perhaps out of the organization entirely.

As our Sam Robinson noted in the article linked above, Wolf has overhauled the prospect evaluation system that the Pats used during Bill Belichick‘s lengthy tenure, and for New England to give Wolf the power to do so only to hire a different decision-maker post-draft would be somewhat surprising. Similarly, we had heard that the Patriots, with Wolf at the helm, were adopting a “Packer-based structure” wherein the personnel department’s input is valued more highly than the head coach’s. It was also reported that Wolf was heavily involved in the head coaching process this offseason, as well as the search to fill out new HC Jerod Mayo‘s staff.

All of that points to the Patriots ultimately giving Wolf the official GM title and having the new staffer work under him, especially since the club is entrusting Wolf with the crucial task of getting the 2024 draft right (the Pats have the No. 3 overall pick and therefore have a golden opportunity to select their next franchise quarterback). Owner Robert Kraft has received positive feedback on Wolf and recently said, “I’m excited with what I’ve seen so far, and we’ll evaluate after the draft and see how that’s gone and decide where we go from there.”

On the other hand, teams like the Jets, Texans, and Bills fired GMs after the draft in the late 2010s, and the Chiefs fired John Dorsey in the summer of 2017. So it is still feasible that the Patriots go in a different direction, with Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston — on a recent episode of Tyler Dunne’s Go Long podcast — confirming that New England will conduct GM interviews after the draft. In Perry’s view, “it’s wild” that the person who is in charge of leading the Pats through this key moment in franchise history is not guaranteed to be in the GM seat once the draft is over, but that is what he has been hearing for months.

If that were to happen, the team would need to comply with the Rooney Rule, which requires that two external minority candidates be interviewed for the GM post. Perry acknowledges that, as referenced above, the team could simply add a new executive to complement Wolf, rather than replace him. Still, given the apparent uncertainty of Wolf’s position, Dunne believes that the scion of Pro Football Hall of Fame exec Ron Wolf will indeed draft a quarterback with the No. 3 selection — which could be what Kraft wants — and will not trade out of the slot. Dunne also believes that UNC passer Drake Maye will be Wolf’s pick (the entire podcast episode merits a listen, particularly for Patriots fans).

Both Perry and former Vikings GM Rick Spielman (via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com) indicate that it would require an overpay to convince Wolf & Co. to deal the No. 3 pick rather than staying put and selecting a prospect like Maye, LSU’s Jayden Daniels, or Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. Perry suggests that if the Vikings — who are armed with both the Nos. 11 and 23 selections in 2024 and have been heavily connected to a trade-up endeavor — want New England’s pick, they would have to part with both of their 2024 first-rounders as well as their top choices in the 2025 and 2026 drafts. Spielman thinks three first-rounders and a second would be the “starting point” in negotiations, and that the Patriots could push for a top-tier player like receiever Justin Jefferson or left tackle Christian Darrisaw as part of the package.

Assuming the Vikings or any other club is unwilling to pay that type of price, then the Wolf-led Pats may, as has been expected, take the highest-rated QB remaining on their board once the Bears and Commanders have made their picks. There is still little clarity, though, as to who that player might be.

Latest On Patriots Front Office Hierarchy, Draft Plans

Since moving on from Bill Belichick, the Patriots have been operating without an official GM. Eliot Wolf reportedly has final say over personnel decisions, leading many to assume that the director of scouting was New England’s de facto general manager.

As Doug Kyed and Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald pass along, Wolf will retain his current title until after the draft, at which time owner Robert Kraft will consider a potential promotion. The owner has reportedly “received positive feedback” on Wolf, making the executive the favorite to land the top front office job.

“I’m excited with what I’ve seen so far, and we’ll evaluate after the draft and see how that’s gone and decide where we go from there,” Kraft said (via the Herald).

The son of Hall of Fame executive Ron Wolf, Eliot Wolf spent more than a decade in Green Bay’s front office to begin his career. He joined the Patriots in 2020 and quickly earned a promotion to his current gig. Once the Patriots/Belichick divorce was official, Wolf participated in head coaching interviews before helping Jerod Mayo fill out his staff.

As Kyed and Callahan note, the Patriots have never had an official “general manager” since Kraft took over ownership of the organization. That was partly due to Belichick’s control over the roster, although the Patriots did employ high-ranking officials like “vice president of player personnel” and “director of player personnel.” Kraft may follow a similar route this time around, although there’s not a better time to pivot to the more traditional front office hierarchy in a post-Belichick era.

Before the organization figures out official roles for the front office, the Patriots will be focused on the draft…particularly their third-overall pick. There have been conflicting reports about the selection’s availability via trade, but it’s generally believed that New England will consider offers for the pick.

If the team does make a trade, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe says the team is still likely to select a quarterback in the draft. Moving back would surely take the Patriots out of range for a top-tier QB, but the team would still have plenty of opportunities to select someone at the position (including at their No. 34 pick).

Speaking of the top-tier quarterbacks, there were some rumblings that the Patriots weren’t enamored with UNC’s Drake Maye. However, Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports that the Patriots will attend the prospect’s pro day tomorrow, and Mayo all but confirmed the team’s interest in Maye while speaking with reporters the other day.

“Drake Maye had a fantastic interview at the combine. He brings a lot of energy. You can tell he has that leadership ability,” Mayo said (via Reiss). “Also the exciting part about a guy like Drake Maye, there is really no ceiling with a guy like that. In saying that, when we’re trying to put together this roster, I know a lot of people look at the ceiling. But you also have to look at how low is the floor. I would say a guy like Drake Maye – he has a lot of room to grow. He’s a young guy. Honestly, he hasn’t played football nearly as much as these other guys. So that’s definitely something we’ve looked at, but he’s definitely going to develop.”

The Patriots have already brought in Jacoby Brissett to keep the QB seat warm, so New England is clearly intent on bringing a rookie QB along slowly. That much is known…it remains to be seen which rookie QB (and which rookie QB tier) the organization will ultimately land on.