Monday when Mr. Kraft took questions at the NFL owner’s meeting, his comments about losing Darrelle Revis seemed pretty cut-and-dried to me:
‘We thought we made a very competitive offer,” he said. “I speak as a fan of the New England Patriots ‘ we wanted to keep him. We wanted him in our system, and we have certain disciplines. We had hoped it worked out. It didn’t. …
“As a fan, in March and April, I hate to lose (Revis). But our real focus is what goes on in the fall and winter. I put my faith and respect with (coach) Bill (Belichick). We have a lot of discussions, and he’s done pretty good the last 15 years. The fan in me argues all the time with him, but he has a pretty good record.’
Then he was asked if he considered matching the Jets offer but was talked out of it by Belichick.
‘No. I listen to what he says,’ he said. ‘We discuss things thoroughly, but he has done a pretty good job. Once again, the emotion and fan in me, you want to keep all the good players and we have a salary cap. I know what it’s like when you lose a game in the fall and the winter, so the emotion of the spring has to have some discipline if you want to be good long-term. I think he’s proven to be a pretty good manager of our resources.’
I mean, there’s nothing earth shattering there. Other than the rarity of an owner of a professional sports franchise admitting he can’t help think like a fan. Which to me is refreshing. Hell, I like to know that he thinks the way I do sometimes. That his heart wanted to keep Revis but his GM made the dispassionate, bottom line decision that is in the best interest of the team. It’s a reminder that long before Mr. Kraft walked into his house and broke the news to Mrs. Kraft he’d just bought the worst franchise in all of sports like a guy bringing home a mangy stray dog, he was a fan just like the rest of us. And he has to separate those impulses from making sound personnel decisions.
The reason I bring this up here is the radio and TV airwaves in this town are currently lousy with media types who are acting like they have no idea what he’s saying. Just since Monday I’ve heard it said he’s talking out of both sides of his mouth. That he’s contradicting himself. Even that he’s lying.
About what? How hard is this to grasp? The Patriots liked Revis. He was a major contributor to a title. They would have liked to keep him. But the Jets wildly outbid them with a contract that includes an amount of guaranteed money that is off the charts for a 30 year old cornerback. The Jets had the money to spend because they are a terrible team that’s not paying for much in the way of talent. The Patriots didn’t have it to spend because they’ve been paying for championship-caliber talent and they’re trying to keep their young core together.
I mean, that’s pretty much it, right? At least it seems it to me. But the Legion of Gloom in this town are either just so blinded by knee jerk opposition to anything the team does, they’re being intentionally obtuse. Or they’re just being objectionable for the sake of being objectionable because they think it makes for a better argument. And frankly I don’t know which is worse.
The bottom line is we all wanted to keep Revis, from the GM to the owner to the fans and even the Patriots-haters on the air. But the Patriots didn’t win four Super Bowls over 15 years of elite, championship driven football by those first two guys I mentioned thinking like the other two groups.