Robert Kraft was up bright an early for a Friday appearance on CNBC's "Squawk Box". The Patriots chairman and CEO was joined by guest host Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans.
Kraft was his congenial self, first congratulating McNair on Houston's 2011 playoff run.
"We play you up in New England this season," the Texans owner teased, "and I don't think you'll be as gracious up there as you are now."
Houston will be without one of the best defensive lineman in the league, Mario Williams, for that 2012 tilt after relinquishing his talents to Buffalo.
McNair said it was tough to lose a key contributor like Williams. But that's business.
"What you're seeing happen is that there are a few stars around the league that are going to get a lot of money, and with a salary cap, that just means that there's less money to go around for the rest of the other players," he said.
"I think what this will do ultimately with the new CBA, which Bob Kraft helped on that tremendously, I think what it's going to do, it's going to allow the teams that are in the lower quartile an opportunity to move up faster because with the new rookie salary pool, less money is going to go to rookies. So those teams at the lower level are not penalized with the higher draft pick which would have cost them a lot of money. Now they have more money available to go out and sign other free agents and there will be good free agents out there that won't command the 96 million contracts."
Kraft was nodding in agreement.
Patriots fans -- connected via the emotional rather than financial aspect of the game -- are anxious about New England's perceived free agency failure. Williams was on the wishlist of many, despite how big a price tag he was expected to have. As each offseason hour passes, more big-name free agents re-sign, are traded, or strike agreements elsewhere -- everywhere other than New England, it seems. The team has instead brought in Steve Gregory, Marcus Harrison, and Jonathan Fanene; re-upped Dan Connolly and Matthew Slater.
Fan unrest over the lack of a sexy signing continues to grow, and it's not gone unnoticed by Kraft.
But, again, it's business.
"Bob makes a good point," he said in response to McNair. "When Mario -- and I don't know whether he was paying him 4 million 9 million -- but the point is when someone goes out and pays him 15 million if you paid him that, your team doesn't get better when you do that. I would say your team maybe gets worse because you have less money available for other players.
"And only your personnel people understand the chemistry of how that works. Sometimes our fans get upset. We're faced with a couple decisions like that, too. Both you and I want to see our teams win. It's how we manage the resources available to us that allows us to do that."