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Perry: Wolf ‘overwhelming favorite’ to be named Pats’ top exec

Perry: Wolf ‘overwhelming favorite’ to be named Pats’ top exec originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots reportedly started the search for their next head of football operations as they prepare for the 2024 NFL season.

The Patriots have operated with director of scouting Eliot Wolf as their de facto general manager since Bill Belichick’s departure in January. Wolf navigated New England through NFL free agency as well as the 2024 draft, where the Pats selected quarterback Drake Maye to be the next face of the franchise with the third overall pick.

Although team owner Robert Kraft will do his due diligence in the organization’s search for a front-office leader, no significant changes are expected. Our Phil Perry reports that Wolf is “the overwhelming favorite” to be named New England’s top football executive.

“My understanding is this is an actual formality,” Perry said on Monday’s Early Edition, as seen in the video above. “There is a formal process that the Patriots have to go through to elevate Eliot Wolf to be their primary football executive. I don’t believe the title he’ll get eventually is general manager. That’s not a title that the Krafts have handed out since they’ve owned the team.

“But the expectation — in league circles and people I’ve spoken to just in the last few hours — is that Eliot Wolf will get the job. I would be stunned if he doesn’t get the job. He is the overwhelming favorite. So they have to go through this. They have to check this box to be able to elevate him to that position and name him that primary football executive, and that’s what they’re doing right now.”

Under the Rooney Rule, all NFL teams must interview at least two external minority candidates for head coach, general manager, and executive positions. When that box is checked, our Tom E. Curran agrees it would be a shock if Wolf doesn’t get the job.

“To me, you cannot execute a draft in which you allow him to have say over the third overall pick, the rest of the draft, free agency, and then say, ‘You know what? That was a mistake. Let’s take Joe Blow over here,’ Curran said. “To me, it is a formality.”

Wolf has been with the Patriots since 2020 when he joined the organization as a consultant. He has served as New England’s director of scouting since 2022.

Previously, Wolf worked for the Green Bay Packers from 2004-17. He started as a pro personnel assistant and ascended the front-office ranks to become the director of football operations in 2016. He was the Cleveland Browns’ assistant general manager from 2018-19.

“I’ll just say this too from talking to people around the league,” Boston Sports Journal’s Mike Giardi added “Eliot’s reputation is outstanding and there are a lot of people like, it’s about time he’s getting this opportunity. And by and large, they think he’s done a good job with what he’s been given to work with thus far.”