Patriots exec drops hints about front office’s new direction
By Jerry Trotta
The New England Patriots face an incredibly important offseason as they hope to get back into the playoffs next season in what has become a loaded AFC.
Their projected $68 million in cap space will go a long way towards renovating the roster, but it’s worth pondering who specifically will be involved in such decisions.
This issue of critical control was compounded following director of player personnel Nick Caserio’s appointment as the Texans’ new general manager at the end of the regular season.
We all know Bill Belichick will play a prominent role in all roster decisions, but who will be replacing Caserio in the war room?
Dave Ziegler, the Patriots’ current assistant director of player personnel, figures to have a bigger voice after he pulled himself out of consideration for the Broncos’ GM vacancy shortly after interviewing for the job.
Ironically enough, it was Ziegler who provided some insight on the front office’s new direction while speaking to Megan O’Brien of Patriots.com earlier this week.
Who’s next in line to be heavily involved in the Patriots’ front office?
"“It’s been fun, and it’s been challenging,” Ziegler said of being promoted to director of player personnel . “It’s been a new level of having to be ultra-organized, prioritize tasks and be involved on just a greater scope with more people in the organization, which has been fun.”“Luckily for me, the support here within the scouting department from people like Brian Smith and Steve Cargile, Eliot Wolf — I could keep naming people, but we have so many good people here that offer support, that have experience, that it’s made the transition pretty seamless.”"
The Patriots are an extremely buttoned up organization that doesn’t find much gratification in giving out job titles, so we wouldn’t blame fans who aren’t familiar with the likes of Brian Smith, Steve Cargile and Eliot Wolf. Seeing as though they could become household names before long, however, that should probably change.
Smith is entering his 10th season as the Patriots’ college scouting director and has actually been with the organization since 2000, which, of course, is when Belichick and Tom Brady entered the fold together. As the longest-tenured member of New England’s scouting department, we like to think he’ll maintain similar responsibilities.
Cargile, meanwhile, has been with the Patriots for over a decade as a pro scout and his experience could lead to a bigger role in this free agency cycle, which is set to get underway at the start of the new league year next month.
Finally, we have Wolf, who only joined New England as a scouting consultant last offseason, but has vast experience with other franchises, formerly serving as the Browns assistant GM in 2018 and 2019. Before that, he spent 14 years (!) in the Packers’ front office (after all, he’s the son of legendary GM Ron Wolf), so don’t be surprised if the Patriots look to unleash his talents and give him a significant voice in all roster decisions.
While Ziegler didn’t exactly specify which duties Smith, Cargile and Wolf will end up shouldering, his comments prove that the Patriots think very highly of their scouting department. If that doesn’t indicate that all three individuals will have more responsibilities moving forward, then nothing does.