Patriots name Eliot Wolf executive V.P. of player personnel

It's official. And it will surprise no one.

The Patriots have named Eliot Wolf the new executive V.P. of player personnel. Regardless of the title, he's now the top non-ownership figure in the football operation.

Per the announcement, "Wolf’s responsibilities will include the overall direction of the personnel department, the management of the salary cap and in control of the 53-man roster."

"As I have started multiple times during the offseason, the plan was to observe the working relationship and involvement between Eliot and [coach] Jerod [Mayo] and see how they managed our offseason personnel decisions," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "Then, following the draft we would formally undertake a process for setting up the permanent structure of our personnel department. I have been impressed with Eliot's management style and experience and I'm excited that he has agreed to take on this new position."

The strategy created awkwardness, both before and after the draft. Wolf could not have had final say over the roster or the draft without the Patriots complying with the Rooney Rule. Thus, ownership necessarily retained — and exercised — those powers from the moment Mayo was hired until today. Then, once the search began, multiple minority candidates declined the opportunity to interview, because everyone knew Wolf was getting the job.

If nothing else, the Patriots have created a blueprint for teams that fire a head coach who ran the roster. Let someone who was retained in the front office essentially run the show from January through April, giving him an extended on-the-job audition without having to first comply with the Rooney Rule. Then, after the draft, check the boxes and make the hire.