Why Patriots owner Robert Kraft didn’t try to trade Bill Belichick

The Patriots were not interested in trying to recoup the first-round draft pick that they once gave up as part of a package to acquire Bill Belichick.

On the day that Belichick and the Patriots parted ways after 24 seasons, owner Robert Kraft was asked why he didn’t try to trade Belichick instead of letting him hit the open market.

Belichick was under contract for one more season.

“If you look at this as a transaction and he is so valuable and how we could extract something, I didn’t think that was right,” Kraft said Thursday afternoon. “I didn’t think it was right for Tom Brady, who gave us 20 years, and I don’t think it’s right for Bill.”

The difference, of course, is that Brady was a free agent when he left for the Buccaneers in March 2020.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft (l.) points at head coach Bill Belichick (r.) on Thursday during a press conference announcing Belichick’s departure. AP
Robert Kraft (l.) puts his arm around Bill Belichick (r.) AP

But the Patriots already got plenty of return on investment — six Super Bowl trophies, nine AFC championships, 17 AFC East titles and more — for the trade they made with the Jets to get Belichick after he resigned as their one-day head coach in 2000.

All of those big moments were achieved in conjunction with Brady.

Follow the Post’s coverage on Bill Belichick’s Patriots exit

“Each of them earned the right to be in the position where they should do what’s right for [them], given what they have done for this franchise,” Kraft said. “Some people might criticize me for not extracting as much value, and I understand that. But we just try to do what’s right for the proper values, and ability to operate, and try to get people who want to come and know that we are going to treat them fairly.”

Kraft said there was thought given to adjusting Belichick’s role so that he was not also the chief football executive in addition to head coach.

Bill Belichick won six Super Bowls working for Patriots owner Robert Kraft. AP

“Every decision has been his and we’ve always supported him,” Kraft said. “To then take that power away and give it to someone else, accountability is important in every one of our companies. Where he had the responsibility and then someone else takes it, it’s going to set up confusion and [blaming], ‘It was his pick and that was a bad pick,’ or ‘He didn’t play him right.’ It wouldn’t work, in my opinion.”

Belichick did not take questions from reporters but Kraft confirmed that Belichick plans to coach again somewhere else.

The Falcons, Commanders, Panthers and Chargers have been mentioned as possible landing spots.

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