In a recent article on CBSSports.com, Jason LaCanfora ranks the 11 best NFL front offices, with the Patriots checking in at No. 2 just behind the Baltimore Ravens.
The list examines the franchises that he believes "truly get it" as it relates to building a team, which includes draft, free agency and other considerations.
Writes LaCanfora on the Patriots:
Yes, they lucked into Tom Brady some, and luck does play a role in this, but it's what you do to capitalize on those little breaks that separates the best of the best. They won 11 games without Brady, they have won with defense and won with offense, and Bill Belichick is a football genius whether you want to admit it or not.
A slew of coaches and execs have left the building, only largely to fail elsewhere, and Belichick has a trusted lieutenant in personnel chief Nick Caserio, who is likely to break that trend of post-Patriot failure if he ever leaves the fold to run his own team.
Belichick makes shrewd trades, manipulates the draft board with ease (he fleeced the Vikings dealing out of the 29th pick this year, as he did in the Randy Moss deal a few years ago) and while it isn't always perfect, it works more often than not. Yes, they have failed to draft receivers, and the recent Rutgers fascination will baffle some, and some will still talk about Spygate, but this team was a dropped pass by Wes Welker away from a ring a year ago and continues to make bold, and usually correct, decisions on its roster (letting Welker go could be the latest example).
Getting Brady to sign that team-friendly extension was huge, they have turned former weaknesses (running game) into potential great strengths and it's hard to imagine another in the AFC East really challenging New England anytime soon. This is the closest we've seen to a dynasty in the modern era, and that must be recognized.
As LaCanfora alludes to, the Patriots have sustained a run of success in the modern era of the NFL, which includes a salary cap that adds layers of difficulty to both adding and retaining talent. While nearly every other NFL team has had wavering levels of success since Bill Belichick took over as head coach, the Patriots have been the model of consistency starting in his second season.
Belichick has been lauded as one of the game's best talent evaluators, and that should extend beyond players to coaches and scouts. Several of his assistant coaches have received promotions elsewhere (be it as head coaches or coordinators), and his "tree" of scouts and personnel executives extends throughout the NFL.
While some of Belichick's disciples have been unable to duplicate the success of the Patriots with other franchises, it speaks to the organization that they are so well-regarded in league circles. The front office has been a critical component behind the team's decade-plus run of success.
To see LaCanfora's full list, click HERE.