The New England Patriots suffered some notable losses this offseason, both on and off the field. Long-time cornerstone players such as Tom Brady, Kyle Van Noy and Nate Ebner left the team in free agency, while Duron Harmon (trade) and kicker Stephen Gostkowski (release) also departed. The Patriots furthermore had to watch Dante Scarnecchia retire, and fellow assistant coaches Joe Judge and Bret Bielema join the New York Giants.
The exodus may not be over just yet either. The name to watch in the upcoming days and weeks in Monti Ossenfort, the Patriots’ director of college scouting. According to a report by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, Ossenfort “will likely be on the move in the coming weeks” after his contract in New England will come to an end this month and no extension had apparently been reached just yet between the two parties.
Ossenfort is well respected within the NFL and brings an impressive résumé to the table. After starting his career as an intern with the Houston Texans in 2002, he joined the Patriots as a personnel assistant the following season. The Minnesota-Morris product returned to Houston in 2004 before again moving to New England as an area scout in 2006. Over the years that followed, Ossenfort steadily climbed up the organizational ladder.
He worked three seasons as a national scout, three seasons as the assistant director of college scouting and in 2014 succeeded the departed Jon Robinson as the Patriots’ director of college scouting — a role he has held ever since. Recently, however, Ossenfort has become a popular candidate to fill general manager vacancies: the Texans wanted to lure him away two years ago, but New England blocked an interview, while the Cleveland Browns did get permission to talk to him earlier this offseason.
Ossenfort did not get the Browns gig and returned to the Patriots to run this year’s draft alongside head coach/general manager Bill Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio. With both men sitting firmly in their respective seats after Caserio signed a new contract earlier this year, however, Ossenfort might have motivation to leave the organization ahead of his 16th season if the chance presented itself.
In case he indeed decided to jump ship, the team has some internal candidates to promote. The Patriots hired former Browns and Green Bay Packers Packers executive Eliot Wolf in a consulting role in February, and also have some up-and-comers in their college scouting department such as Brian Smith, Matt Groh and Brandon Yeargan. All four men could eventually succeed Ossenfort if he left New England later this offseason.