Robert Kraft and Vince Wilfork were together for 11 seasons. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Robert Kraft and Vince Wilfork were together for 11 seasons. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Seeing Vince Wilfork depart was “one of the toughest things” Robert Kraft had to endure as the owner of the Patriots, he said Monday.

“It was even harder than anything else,” Kraft told reporters at the league meetings in Arizona. “He’s someone we watched come in here; I developed a very strong personal tie to him. It’s the hardest part of this game, speaking as a fan and also someone who got to know him and Bianca and his kids.”

The veteran defensive tackle, who had spent 11 seasons with the Patriots, announced on March 5 that the team was not going to pick up his option, and that he would become a free agent. And on March 16, while bidding a fond farewell to New England, he announced he was signing with the Texans.

Kraft said Wilfork’s goodbye to the Patriots was “something beautiful.”

“He’ll always be a Patriot and he’s keeping his home here. Sometimes the player is more valuable to one team than other team given how they’re constructed. Losing Vince is probably one of the hardest things that happened. (There are) some emotional ties. He’s a pretty special guy.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The Patriots were awarded two compensatory picks in the 2015 NFL draft on Monday. New England will receive the 97th pick overall, a third rounder, as well as the 36th pick of the seventh round, No. 253 overall.

The league uses an abstract formula to determine compensatory picks, one that includes total free agents gained and lost the previous offseason, as well as how those players performed with their new teams. A team can receive a maximum of four picks, and they could fall anywhere between the end of the third round and the end of the seventh round. In the case of the Patriots, their formula weighed the losses of Aqb Talib, Brandon Spikes, LeGarrette Blount and Dane Fletcher against the signings of Brandon LaFell and Brandon Browner.

As it stands right now, New England has nine picks in the 2015 draft, including four in the top 100 (Nos. 32, 64, 96 and 97 overall). The Patriots also hold two fourth-round picks (Nos. 101 and 131), a single selection in the sixth (No. 177) and two in the seventh (Nos. 219 and 253).

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

A much subdued Jets owner Woody Johnson spoke at the NFL owners meetings in Arizona Monday, as the last time he spoke at length it led to an eventual tampering charge against the organization for talking about Darrelle Revis who w

A much subdued Jets owner Woody Johnson spoke at the NFL owners meetings in Arizona Monday, as the last time he spoke at length it led to an eventual tampering charge against the organization for talking about Darrelle Revis who was under contract with the Patriots at the time.

Since he last spoke, when announcing the firing of Rex Ryan, the Jets signed Revis. It’s been reported the organization is being investigated for possibly tampering with Revis, with a report saying the NFL sent league officials to the Jets offices.

Johnson isn’t concerned.

“It’€™s just something the league is looking at,” he said to reporters in Arizona. “So, I’€™m not worried about anything. I’€™m worried about getting better.”

The Jets signed Revis to a five-year contract worth $70 million, including about $39 million in guaranteed money right as free agency opened. Johnson knows even with how good Revis is, you cannot win with just one player.

“We’€™re trying to get us better,” said Johnson “He’€™s one player. One player can’€™t lift a franchise.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The last few years, for whatever reason, Patriots coach Bill Belichick hasn’t made the annual coaches’ picture which is snapped at the league meetings. This has caused something of a mild uproar in some circles, and sparked some absolutely ingenious Photoshop jobs in others. This year, Belichick made it — and here’s photographic proof. From the account of NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Monday the team “made a very competitive offer” in an attempt to re-sign cornerback Darrelle Revis and “wanted to keep him,” but it simply didn’t happen.

Darrelle Revis spent one season with the Patriots. (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis spent one season with the Patriots. (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Monday the team “made a very competitive offer” in an attempt to re-sign cornerback Darrelle Revis and “wanted to keep him,” but it simply didn’t happen.

“We thought we made a very competitive offer,” Kraft told reporters while speaking at the NFL owners meetings. “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.”

Kraft noted that there are three key members of their defense who could be facing free agency in the next 24 months — linebackers Jamie Collins and Domt’a Hightower and defensive end Chandler Jones — and that that they needed to take their situations into account.

“We just don’t think about short-term decisions. For example, next year we have three very good young defensive players coming up and we have to factor that.”

He added: “We just don’t look at this year; we look out at the next few years. We’ve done OK doing that. 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.”

To that point, Kraft was asked if he was talked out of matching the Jets offer 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.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Robert Kraft said Monday “there is no smoking gun” when it comes to the deflated football controversy that enveloped the Patriots for nearly a month earlier this year.

Robert Kraft

Robert Kraft

Robert Kraft said Monday “there is no smoking gun” when it comes to the deflated football controversy that enveloped the Patriots for nearly a month earlier this year.

The Patriots owner, speaking with reporters at the league meetings in Arizona, was asked about the Deflategate scandal and the ongoing investigation, but replied by saying, “I like to worry about things I can control.”

“I know that there’s no smoking gun here. I’ve chatted with our people,” he said. “I think I said it pretty well the week before the Super Bowl. We’re worried about the 2015 season and that’s our focus.”

However, Kraft did offer a clarification of his statement during Super Bowl week. In a strongly worded press conference, he appeared to take some shots at the league and commissioner Roger Goodell over the probe.

“I want to clarify,” Kraft said. “First of all, when I spoke a week before the Super Bowl, I was speaking to the league office. (Goodell) is in charge. I think he has a pretty tough job. As a matter of fact, some of my friends say there’s two jobs they don’t want: President of the United States and commissioner of the NFL. He has a very hard job. I think he does a very fine job at what he does. It’s tough, but he needs to make sure all the people working in the system are also doing it.”

For his part, Goodell told Peter King on Monday the investigation is “getting near the end.”

He added: “The most important thing is to get the right information, to get the facts and the truth. We determined that we should bring [criminal attorney] Ted Wells to further the investigation. We haven’t given him a timetable except to be thorough, be fair and get to the truth. When he’s completed his report, that will be made public as well as to all of us.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Fans looking to get up close and personal with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady may be in luck.

Salem State University announced Monday Brady will speak at the school on Thursday, May 7 as part of the University’s speaker series. The event is open to the public and will be moderated by Jim Gray.

It’s worth noting Bill Belichick spoke at the school as part of the series in 2008. Other past speakers have included: Bill Clinton, President George H.W. Bush, Barbara Bush, Maya Angelou, Bobby Valentine, Bill Russell, Doug Flutie, Jay Leno, Cal Ripken Jr. and many more.

Tickets go on sale March 31 at 10 a.m.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable