The New England Patriots’ front office is largely to thank for where the team currently sits in the playoff standings.
After all, the Patriots enjoyed maybe the best offseason of any team in the NFL.
While Bill Belichick is the de facto Commander in Chief of football operations, he has a legion of accomplished executives, assistants and scouts who have helped transform the roster from a bottom-dweller into a world-beater.
As much as Belichick might want to keep this group together, that could prove more difficult than he would have hoped.
In updating fans on the coaching carousel and teams that could have general manager holes to fill in the offseason, ESPN insiders (subscription required) Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano listed two Pats executives, Dave Ziegler and Eliot Wolf, as potential GM candidates.
The Patriots could lose two front office executives during the 2022 offseason.
Ziegler should be a familiar name for Patriots fans. If you remember, he interviewed for the Broncos’ now-former general manager vacancy last offseason, only to withdraw his name from consideration and be hired as Nick Caserio’s replacement as the team’s director of player personnel.
Ziegler has been a hot commodity on the GM market for multiple years now. If an attractive job becomes available, you have to think he’ll make the shortlist of candidates said team wants to interview.
Wolf, meanwhile, is only in his second year with the Patriots, but he’s got plenty of experience under his belt. His 14-year stint with the Packers culminated in being named director of football operations, and he spent two years in Cleveland as the Browns’ assistant GM. His dad is also, uh, somewhat well-known.
In other words, Wolf has been knocking on the door in regard to becoming a general manager. Assuming that’s still on his bucket list, it’s reasonable to assume he’d at least say yes to an interview.
In terms of teams that could be in the market for a new general manager, Fowler and Graziano floated the possibility of longtime Steelers GM Kevin Colbert stepping down at season’s end.
The Raiders are another team to keep an eye on in that regard. In addition, the Vikings’ Rick Spielman could end his 10-year reign in Minneapolis and move into another role with the franchise.
Those are just a few teams to keep an eye on.
Ziegler and Wolf played big roles in the 2021 draft, which is easily New England’s best in recent memory, so the prospect of losing both of them in one hiring cycle is a pretty scary thought.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.