FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday that he wasn’t making excuses when he told SiriusXM NFL Radio that the team was relying more on younger players and didn’t have the same depth as past years because of the salary cap.
In his weekly radio interview on WEEI in Boston, Belichick expounded on his remarks, saying the current situation is a result of how the Patriots approached the previous five seasons.
“We sold out and won three Super Bowls, played in a fourth, and played in an AFC Championship Game. This year we have less to work with. It’s not an excuse. It’s just the facts,” Belichick said.
Belichick’s Patriots (2-5) are in the midst of their first four-game losing streak since 2002 and visit the winless New York Jets on ESPN’s Monday Night Football on Nov. 9.
He seemed to take offense Monday when told some might have viewed his remarks to SiriusXM NFL Radio, in an interview with his former offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis, as an excuse.
“I didn’t say it as an excuse. I never said that,” Belichick said. “Look, we paid Cam Newton a million dollars [on July 8]. It’s obvious we didn’t have any money. It’s nobody’s fault. That’s what we did the last five years.”
The Patriots had been tight to the salary cap for most of the offseason, in part because they were carrying about $26 million in dead space for players no longer on the roster, a group that includes quarterback Tom Brady, receiver Antonio Brown and kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
They later gained significant space when eight players, led by linebacker Dont’a Hightower, opted out of the 2020 season.
When told it seemed unusual that he was providing a big-picture assessment of the roster in the middle of the season, Belichick said in his Monday radio interview: “It’s pretty obvious. It was an honest answer to an honest question. No more, no less than that. I’m sure you can read a lot into it if you want to. That wasn’t the intent.”