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Michael Lombardi Notes Narrative in New England Free Agency



New England Patriots assistant coach Michael Lombardi. left, shakes hands with oach Bill Belichick before an NFL football preseason game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Michael Lombardi was a longtime NFL executive before transitioning into a second career as an NFL analyst. He worked for several successful franchises during his front-office career, including the New England Patriots. Lombardi served as an assistant/advisor with the New England Patriots from 2014 to 2015. Though he is no longer working for New England, Lombardi certainly has some opinions about their moves in free agency to date. More specifically, he has thoughts about the narrative surrounding those moves.

The Patriots focused the bulk of their spending so far on bringing players back to New England. They agreed to new deals with Hunter Henry and Kendrick Bourne before free agency opened. After the legal tampering period began, they brought back Mike Onwenu, Jalen Reagor, Josh Uche, and Anfernee Jennings. Only a few outside free agents have been added to date, none of them breaking the bank.

The GM Shuffle

On The GM Shuffle podcast, which Lombardi co-hosts with Femi Abebefe, Michael Lombardi spoke about these moves. He had a lot of thoughts about how the narrative around the moves has been shaped. Specifically how it reflects on Bill Belichick.

“Isn’t it funny?” began Lombardi. “If (Bill) Belichick would have signed all of the guys that the Patriots have signed this year, you realize what the national media would be doing to him right now?”

“It would not be great,” responded Abebefe with a chuckle.

“For a guy that has no ability to draft,” Lombardi sarcastically said of Belichick, “and he doesn’t know anything about players, last I checked who did they sign? They signed Hunter Henry back, Kendrick Bourne back. They signed Josh Uche back, they signed (Anfernee) Jennings back, they signed (Kyle) Dugger back. For a guy (Belichick) that can’t evaluate, they’re bringing a lot of their guys back…Onwenu back.”

Although Kyle Dugger was designated with a transition tag, not yet signed, Lombardi was otherwise accurate with the signings.

“It’s hilarious. It’s all narrative, it’s all what is the narrative that you choose to feed. And the narrative for somebody (Belichick) who’s won six Super Bowls, he can’t draft?

“Well, I guess the players just showed up. Well, you look at the documentary (“The Dynasty), according to what people tell me, he (Belichick) wasn’t even in the building for 20 of those years. So, makes no sense.”

Bill Belichick and Michael Lombardi enjoy a mutual admiration. Belichick has referred to Lombardi as, “one of the smartest people I’ve worked with. He was a huge asset to me.” Lombardi thinks very highly of Belichick as well. He also believes the narrative that has surrounded Belichick since he “parted ways” with the New England Patriots is unfair. It now appears hypocritical as well.

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