Bengals exec declines Patriots interview for de facto GM job
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots have kicked off their search for a “top football executive,” but one of the team’s targets has already rejected an interview. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Bengals senior personnel executive Trey Brown has declined an interview for the Patriots’ de facto GM job.

A move to New England would be a bit of a reunion for Brown, as the 39-year-old started his front-office career as a Patriots scout. He followed that up with a long stint in Philadelphia, where he eventually climbed to the role of Eagles director of college scouting. Brown had brief stints in the AAF and XFL before joining the Bengals as a scout in 2021. Following one year with the organization, he was promoted to his current role of senior personnel executive.

Brown’s rise through the Bengals organization coincided with the team’s on-field turnaround, and the executive garnered plenty of praise for his role in the operation. He first popped up on the GM carousel in 2022 when he earned an interview for the Raiders GM job. He got another look for the Raiders job this offseason but walked away empty handed. Considering his track record, Pelissero notes that Brown will remain a top GM candidate during next year’s hiring cycle.

While the Patriots have continually signaled that they’ll eventually be conducting a search for a front office leader, today’s development still comes as a bit of a surprise. After moving on from head coach/de facto GM Bill Belichick, the team basically handed the reins to Eliot Wolf, who retained his title of director of scouting. While the new-look Patriots relied on a group effort to fill the Belichick-sized void, Wolf played a major role in the team’s free agency and draft approach. With the roster pretty much set (and the organization having made a significant decision with Drake Maye at No. 3), the team will now curiously consider another executive to lead the way.

With that said, Wolf’s presence may cause some issues for Robert Kraft and the Patriots’ top decision makers. As Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes, the Patriots may have a tough time convincing candidates that Wolf isn’t “a lock to get the job.” For what it’s worth, Volin notes that the Patriots have already complied with the Rooney Rule in regards to their GM vacancy.

The Patriots haven’t employed a traditional GM since Kraft took over ownership of the organization. It sounds like the long-time owner is once again considering a creative approach to his front office.

This article first appeared on Pro Football Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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