A lot of the time, the Patriots and their fans are right to be angry with the NFL for what happened to the team in the Deflategate scandal. When it came to light that the Patriots had cheated in their own investigation into the scandal, owner Robert Kraft had to publicly apologize to Tom Brady for their actions. Brady and Kraft were already close, and everyone assumed the two were friends, since they played together for so long. Kraft also got Kraft’s son, Michael, fired as the team’s director of player personnel.
“Oh, you’re still mad?” asked a friend of mine when I sent him a link to the New York Times article that broke news of the Patriots front office’s involvement with the FBI. “How can you still be mad?” I asked, surprised. “He lied to the team, he lied to the fans, he lied to the media, he lied to the FBI, he lied to the league, he lied to everyone. He’s a liar.” “No,” he replied, “I’m just frustrated.”Bill Belichick hasn’t done everything right in his time with the New England Patriots. He has made many draft mistakes, failed free contracts and failed trades. Of course, Belichick has done many things right over the past two decades, as evidenced by the six Lombardi trophies at Gillette Stadium. On the other hand, he had the help of the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, and one of the most respected owners in professional sports, Robert Kraft.
In their own ways, these two men have contributed greatly to the Patriots’ unprecedented success. However, they also had to suffer the consequences of some poor decisions by Belichick. And judging by N’Keel Harry’s current situation, both Brady and Kraft deserve an apology from the legendary head coach.
Although Brady, Belichick and Kraft have had tremendous success together, all three have made mistakes along the way. Belichick in particular has made some questionable decisions and said (or rather not said) things over the course of two decades that didn’t always sit well with Brady and his good friend and old boss.
Belichick would never do that, but he has several reasons to ask Brady for forgiveness. And the fact that he routinely underpaid him compared to other elite quarterbacks? Or the fact that he hasn’t always surrounded the GOAT with enough talent to claim a Super Bowl title? Or we can go back a few years to Seth Wickersham’s famous ESPN article about the power struggle between Belichick, Brady and Kraft. TB12 coach Alex Guerrero’s ban certainly didn’t sit well with his star quarterback and undisputed leader of the locker room.
As for Kraft, he handled the drama that wouldn’t have happened without Belichick. For every Brady and Rob Gronkowski that Belichick cites, Kraft can also point to a list of players with less-than-stellar pasts (Aaron Hernandez, Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon among them) as examples of moves that didn’t have a positive long-term effect on the organization. Moreover, Kraft could certainly have a problem with the way Belichick made key decisions in the game, including sending Malcolm Butler back to Super Bowl 52 for a reason that has yet to be explained.
This is not to say that Belichick is a pure negativist. Clearly, this is not the case. But the reality remains that Brady and Kraft have had several bad outcomes because of Belichick.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick alongside quarterback Tom Brady with the AFC championship trophy. | Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images
Another win for Team Brady. Patriots wide receiver N’Keel Hurry has asked to transfer to the organization that took him in the first round just two years ago. Clearly, the relationship between the former Arizona State receiver and the six-time Super Bowl winner has never been good. And given the reports that surfaced last summer that Brady didn’t want to work with Harry during his rookie season, it only makes things worse for Belichick, who made Harry the first receiver drafted in the first round during his tenure as head coach. Indeed, Brady’s final year in New England could have looked different if his new No. 1 weapon had been D.K. Metcalfe, A.J. Brown or Deebo Samuel.
In the end, Brady seems to be right that he didn’t have much faith in the broad-shouldered man. Ironically, Cam Newton has started to defend Harry, which no longer seems like a good move on his part. And with the 23-year-old receiver essentially deferring his time in New England, Belichick owes Brady an apology for wasting a valuable asset and missing out on future stars like Metcalfe and Brown for Harry.
Belichick could also visit Kraft’s office to apologize. Not only does it look bad visually for the organization, but the Patriots paid Harry about $7 million for 45 catches for 415 yards and four touchdowns. Since he still has guaranteed money in his rookie contract, he will still receive money from the Patriots even if he is traded. There’s no doubt that the investment in Harry paid little dividends for a businessman as savvy as Kraft. And it all has to do with Belichick’s decision to go out with a wide receiver.
Even if Harry wants to go, that doesn’t mean he’ll get his way. Finally, Belichick rarely lets the players take the lead. So it would be unheard of for him to grant Harry’s request and find him a new home. In this context, starting from scratch seems the best solution for all parties concerned.
Why keep paying for a player who has made it clear he doesn’t want to be here? And it’s not like the Patriots would lose much if they traded Harry. In his short career, he just hasn’t had the impact that teams expect from a first rounder. Injuries and inconsistent play have become synonymous with Harry’s name in New England, not great plays and touchdowns.
In addition, the Patriots invested a lot of guaranteed money in Nelson Agolor and paid a decent price for Kendrick Bourn’s services. Jacoby Meyers, who ironically wasn’t selected the year Harry was picked 32nd, has shown he can get open and catch the ball regularly when given the chance. It makes more sense to invest in Myers future and give him a chance to trade Mack Jones, who shouldn’t waste his time with Harry if Belichick is willing to admit he made a big mistake.
And if he lets his favorite receiver go, he has to apologize to Brady and Kraft.
COMPARED TO: Fear of losing to Tom Brady may drive Bill Belichick to risky investments with Robert Kraft’s money
Frequently Asked Questions
What did Kraft say about Belichick?
“I think he’s a great coach. I think he’s a great person. I think he’s done an unbelievable job with the Patriots.”
Did Tom Brady and Bill Belichick get along?
Yes, they are friends.
What did Robert Kraft say about Tom Brady?
“I think he’s the best quarterback in the history of football.”
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