Robert Kraft defers to Bill Belichick over Cam Newton-Mac Jones situation

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Kraft puts ball in Belichick's court over Pats' QB situation originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Robert Kraft isn't getting in Bill Belichick's way this year. But he's making it clear that he wants to see some results.

The Patriots owner was asked in a recent interview with TMZ Sports what he thought of quarterback Mac Jones, the team's No. 15 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft who is expected to compete with veteran Cam Newton for the starting job this season.

"We're excited to have him, but I'm excited to have Cam Newton, too," Kraft said.

Patriots Talk Podcast: Chad Pennington: ‘Ideally’ Mac Jones follows the Patrick Mahomes plan | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

That's a diplomatic response. But when asked which QB he'd like to see starting in Week 1, Kraft added this one-liner:

 "I pay (head coach) Bill (Belichick) a lot of money. He can decide that."

Kraft's comments come after he criticized the Patriots' recent draft history and expressed hope his team would turn things around following a 7-9 campaign in 2020. The Patriots owner also allowed Belichick to spend at a record clip this offseason -- New England shelled out over $150 million in guaranteed contracts to high-profile free agents -- with the goal of returning to prominence.

So, it sounds like Kraft expects his head coach to deliver results after giving Belichick the resources to construct a competitive roster. Kraft's expectations could be added motivation for Belichick -- not that he needs any after watching former QB Tom Brady win a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season.

Kraft raves about Brady ahead of QB's return in Week 4

As for quarterback question at hand? Belichick reportedly is "bullish" on Newton, who struggled as a passer last year but now has a full offseason in the Patriots system and new offensive weapons in tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith and wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne.

But Jones could make things interesting if he has a strong preseason -- and Kraft is counting on Belichick to make the right decision under center.