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Five potential Patriots GMs who could replace Bill Belichick

Five potential Patriots GMs who could replace Bill Belichick originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have their next head coach. But will their general manager opening be filled with similar alacrity?

League sources expect a true general manager search ahead for Robert and Jonathan Kraft as they move forward without Bill Belichick, and there are several candidates who are believed to have interest.

After conversations with several league sources, here are some of the most intriguing possibilities to head up New England's personnel department.

Mike Borgonzi, Chiefs assistant general manager

While sources believe it'll be important for the Kraft family to have a pre-existing relationship with their next general manager, and while Borgonzi has not worked for the Patriots in the past, he does have ties to New England.

He worked under former Patriots executive Scott Pioli in Kansas City and therefore would be familiar with the Patriots grading scale when it comes to player acquisition. He's also an Everett, Mass. native and played fullback at Brown.

Having functioned in a key role with the league's most successful organization of the last five years -- an organization that has succeeded thanks in large part to strong drafting and savvy free-agent additions -- Borgonzi would provide a fresh perspective that the Krafts likely would hold in high esteem.

Trey Brown, Bengals senior personnel executive

Brown worked for the Patriots from 2010-2012 as a scouting assistant and area scout, crossing over with Mayo in New England. The two have an established relationship, and indications are Mayo views Brown as a future general manager.

Brown also has worked under Howie Roseman in Philadelphia and has handled a variety of duties -- duties that have ratcheted up since he arrived in 2021 -- in Cincinnati for what is largely considered an undermanned personnel office that asks a lot of its scouts.

Having chipped in on one of the league's top offenses (when Joe Burrow is healthy), Brown would be a blend of old Patriots background with new outside perspectives, which could be enticing for the Krafts.

Jon Robinson, former Titans general manager

Robinson certainly has strong ties to the glory days of the organization, having worked in New England from 2002 to 2013 and getting to the position of college scouting director. But he created a strong reputation for himself in Tennessee, where he oversaw drafts that resulted in good pros like tackle Jack Conklin, safety Kevin Byard, defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons and receiver A.J. Brown.

Misses in more recent drafts helped lead to his dismissal in 2022, but in a different environment with a different perspective after being out of the league in 2023, perhaps Robinson would be a consideration for the Krafts.

Eliot Wolf, Patriots director of scouting

Wolf cut his teeth in Green Bay as director of pro personnel, director of player personnel and director of football operations. Though he's been in Foxboro since 2020, he's not an executive who has learned under Belichick and Belichick alone. Wolf, whose father is Hall of Fame executive Ron Wolf, also served as assistant general manager in Cleveland in 2018 and 2019 under general manager John Dorsey.

The Krafts have had an opportunity to get a better sense of how Wolf operates over the last few years, and he's served as point person for a number of behind-the-scenes duties that typically might go to a general manager. He has, in some ways, been prepared for the job. If the Krafts want to go with an internal option, Wolf seems to be the most likely candidate.

Director of pro scouting Steve Cargile, director of player personnel Matt Groh, Patrick Stewart and director of college scouting Cam Williams are respected members of a personnel staff that under Belichick has been widely-respected for its depth of talent.

Dave Ziegler, former Raiders general manager

Ziegler was the director of player personnel in New England during an offseason in which the team drafted Mac Jones, Christian Barmore and Rhamondre Stevenson. He also headed the department when the Patriots were in position to outspend the rest of the NFL in a post-COVID offseason, acquiring Matthew Judon, Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Davon Godchaux and Jalen Mills as part of a mixed-results free-agent class.

Fired by the Raiders mid-season, Ziegler maintains a good relationship with the Krafts. Whether as general manager himself or in another position alongside the next general manager, a Foxboro return for Ziegler would make plenty of sense as the team moves forward without Belichick.