FOXBORO (CBS) — After missing the playoffs in 2020, Bill Belichick went out and completely revamped the New England Patriots through both the draft and free agency. On Thursday, he was named the 2021 NFL Executive of the Year by the Professional Football Writers of America.
It’s an award that Belichick had never won during his run with the Patriots.READ MORE: Patrice Bergeron named finalist for Selke Award for 11th straight season
Belichick completely rebuilt the Patriots after a 7-9 season in 2020, adding 11 players via free agency and three by way of trade, while also adding three key rookies through the NFL Draft. The 2021 Patriots shook off a 3-5 start to win seven straight during the regular season, finishing the year at 10-7 to earn a playoff spot as a Wild Card team.READ MORE: A Tom Brady Roast is coming to Netflix
Among Belichick’s hits in his free agency spending spree were pass-rusher Matthew Judon (who finished with a team-high 12.5 sacks), wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (800 receiving yards and five touchdowns), tight end Hunter Henry (team-high nine touchdown receptions) and defensive lineman Davon Godchaux. The Patriots also added Mac Jones (who was named the PFWA All-Rookie quarterback), defensive lineman Christian Barmore and running back Rhamondre Stevenson in the draft, all of whom played key roles in New England’s success.
While this is Belichick’s first PFWA Executive of the Year award, it’s the third for the Patriots overall. Former New England GM Scott Pioli won the award in both 2003 and 2007.MORE NEWS: Woman files for protective order against Rajon Rondo
Mike Vrabel of the Tennessee Titans was named the 2021 NFL Coach of the Year, while Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was named the 2021 NFL Assistant Coach of the Year.