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#pounditMonday, May 20, 2024

Patriots GM contradicts Robert Kraft’s explanation for not signing Calvin Ridley

Calvin Ridley on the sideline

Aug 29, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) on the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots had a ton of money to spend in free agency this year, but they apparently were not willing to deploy enough of it to land one specific star player.

During his media availability on Thursday, Patriots director of scouting and de-facto general manager Eliot Wolf was asked about the team’s failed pursuit of star wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Wolf had a very blunt — and noteworthy — response.

“Another team offered more money, would be the main thing,” Wolf said.

That other team was the Tennessee Titans. Many people thought Ridley was going to re-sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the AFC South rival Titans swooped in with a massive 4-year, $92 million deal. Ridley said the opportunity to play alongside fellow star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was a big factor in his decision.

The reason Wolf’s comments were so interesting is that they are much different from what Patriots owner Robert Kraft said last month about missing out on Ridley. Kraft claimed New England was not outbid and that Ridley’s girlfriend played a big role in the former Alabama star’s decision.

The Patriots are facing an unfamiliar dilemma in the post-Tom Brady/Belichick era. They had one of the worst rosters in football last season and do not have a quarterback in place. That has negatively impacted their ability to sign top free agents.

Kraft is probably concerned about developing a reputation for being a cheap owner, which would present another challenge. His GM’s remark did not help.

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