No one is perfect, not even the guy who has the motto "In Bill we trust" said about his every decision. While the likes of Mike Vrabel, Roman Phifer, Rodney Harrison, and so many others go in the positve category of players that hadn't reached their potential or vetrans that didn't have it anymore that had great success in New England. There are those free agents that didn't fit into the "Patriot Way', and didn't live up to expectations.
Here is a list of 10 players brought in during the reign of Belichick (2000- pres) that didn't quite work out.
Off-Season Signed - 2003
Contract - 6 years, 25.85 million
Leads off the list mostly for not living up to the full potential of the contract he signed, even though you can't blame it on him. The gem of the 2003 off-season, coming off of back to back 10.5 sack seasons with the Chicago Bears, Colvin looked to still have his best play ahead of him when the Pats signed him. Then disaster struck. After a great preseason, Colvin opened up the season with 2 sacks, but during the Patriots week 2 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, he suffered a dislocated hip.
The injury (the same one that ended Bo Jackson's NFL career) ended his season, and he was never the same player. Still, Colvin was by no means a bust, he led the Patriots in sacks in both 2005 and 2006, and was a starter on the 07' undefeated team until another injury in week 12 ended his season. He'd be released following the season, only to be brought back during the 08' season. At the end of that season he was gone for good.
Off-Season Signed - 2007
Contract - 6 years, Really 1 year, 3.6 million
At the end of the 2006 season, Donte Stallworth was the hottest free agent Wide Receiver on the market. At the end of the 2006 season, the New England Patriots were in desperate need for a number one Wide Receiver. The Patriots would sign Stallworth to a 6 year contract, but in reality to keep Stallworth after the first season, the Pats would have to give him a 5 million dollar bonus, Stallworth would have to have a great year for the Pats to bring him back, he didn't.
At the 2007 NFL Draft, the Patriots would make 2 trades that landed them Wes Welker and Randy Moss. Stallworth would begin the season as the number 2 Receiver to Moss, shortly after Welker passed him as the 2nd option, and by the end of the year, Jabar Gaffney had even become a bigger target for Tom Brady than Stallworth. Stallworth had a respectable 46 catches for 697 yards, with 3 TD's in his one year in a Patriots uniform. Things wouldn't get any better for Stallworth after leaving Foxboro, but that's a whole other story.
Off-Season Signed - 2006
Contract - 2 years, 2 million
Poor, poor, Reche Caldwell, if someone in the future were to look back and see just the stats Caldwell put up in 2006, they'd probably think he had a good year, us who watched him play that year know different. For whatever reason, following the 2005 season, the New England Patriots decided they didn't need Wide Receivers. They allowed David Givens to leave as a free agent, and decided to stiff Deion Branch, who then proceeded to want out, to which the Patriots obliged. To replace the obvious hole, The Pats brought in Caldwell, who was seldom used over 4 years in San Diego, he was now the number 1 Receiver in New England.
Caldwell was solid in his one year with the Patriots, with 61 catches for 760 yards, and 4 TD's, but he will be forever remembered for his performance in the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. As the Patriots were blowing the game, Caldwell would drop 2 crucial passes to seal their fate. The lasting image of him with a wide-eyed look on his face of disbelief. When the Patriots decided to make up for their mistake of 06', and brought in Welker, Moss, and Stallworth, Caldwell became expendable, and was cut right before the start of the 07' season.
Off Season Signed - 2005
Contract - 2 years, 4 million
2005 was the last time the Patriots won a Super Bowl, the coming weeks after the game saw defensive leader, Pro Bowl Linebacker Tedy Bruschi suffer a minor stroke that was thought might end his 05' season before it started. It also saw the end of Linebacker's Roman Phifer and Ted Johnson runs with the team, making a former strength at Inside Linebacker a weakness. To counter this, the Patriots brought in Chad Brown and Monty Beisel (more on him in a sec), and the results would not be to the teams liking.
Chad Brown was a really good player (2-time All-Pro) at the end of his career, looking for a chance to win a title. It was thought he still had something left in the tank when he signed with New England, he didn't. After starting the first 6 games of the season, Brown was replaced by a returning Bruschi, and Outside Linebacker Mike Vrabel. He'd only record 31 tackles with no sacks, and would not be brought back after the season. He would be brought back in 2007, recording 1 tackle in 2 games.
Off Season Signed - 2005
Contract - 2 years, 1.7 million
Part two of the attempt to replace the void at Inside Linebacker, Beisel like Chad Brown would start the first 6 games of the 2005 Season, and like Brown, he'd be replace by Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel, due to sub-par play. The only standout moment for Beisel in his lone season with the Patriots was his blowup with a local sports reporter, and then turning on Patriots media relations’ director Stacey James.
What sets Beisel apart from Brown, is that Beisel should have been entering his prime when he joined the Patriots, instead he floundered, and couldn't grasp the Patriots defense. Beisel ended up landing with the Arizona Cardinals for three years, playing for them during their run to the 2009 Super Bowl.
Off Season Signed - 2009
Contract - 1 year, 1.15 Million
Joey Galloway had long been one of the league's deadliest deep threats, even as he was entering his mid 30's. After an injury plagued 2008 Season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Galloway wasn't brought back to Tampa, and it appeared the Patriots got a steal. Throwing Galloway into an offense with Wes Welker and Randy Moss, plus a returning Tom Brady seemed unfair, but things did not go as planned.
Apparently, Galloway was such a great deep threat because he didn't know how to do anything but go deep. Galloway struggled to pick up the Patriots offense, and quickly got on the bad side of Tom "Terrific". Donald Hayes version II (I think I just gave away another man on the list) caught 7 passes in three games. His last against the Atlanta Falcons saw a visibly frustrated Brady yell after a Galloway mix up. Galloway would be inactive for the next three games, before being released.
Off-Season Signed - 2009
Contracts - 3 years, 10.5 Million
Shawn Springs was another attempt at replacing the presence of Asante Samuel; Springs failed his assignment. A flashy signing in the off-season to be the Pats new shutdown corner, it became evident that the other Cornerback signed that off-season, Leigh Bodden was the real get. Springs seemed disinterested in playing during the 09' Season, missing 4 games with ailments that no one knew how he got.
After the 09' season there were doubts Springs would return for another season. When he couldn't pass an off-season physical, the Pats cut ties with the DB.
Off Season Signed - 2002
Contract - One year, 755,000 ?
Steve Martin was known around the league as a solid run-stopping Defensive Tackle. The surprise Super Bowl Champ Patriots brought him in to sure up an aging Defensive line. Seemed like a perfect fit, nothing could be further from the truth. The Patriots would have one of the worst rush defenses in the league, giving up 459 rushing yards in a two week stretch against the Chiefs and Chargers (Priest Holmes and Ladainian Tomlinson)
Martin also had the nasty habit of liking to do a big New England no, no, talking. When you put together a run stopper who can't stop the run, and a constant yapper, what do you get? You get cut during Week 16, before a game against your former team (New York Jets).
Off-Season Signed - 2002
Contract - 2 years, 2.4 Million
The original. While the Patriots had won a Super Bowl with the smaller Wide Receivers of Troy Brown and David Patten, it was thought adding a taller Wide out for use in the Red Zone would be a crucial need in taking the Offense to the next level. Donald Hayes was a good player for the Carolina Panthers; he was also 6'4, and the mold for what the Patriots were looking for
Hayes could not for the life of him figure out the Offense. Hayes was unable to comprehend the complicated Patriots O, no matter how hard he tried. In 12 games, Hayes recorded only 12 catches, with 2 TD's. After the season, Hayes was gone from the Patriots, and would never play in another regular season game.
Off-Season Signed - 2007
Contract - 5 years, 35 Million
Adalius Thomas was supposed to be the "Ultimate Weapon" when the Patriots signed him in the 07' off-season. His versatility was supposed to be unmatched. He would be able to get to the quarterback, and after the disaster in the AFC Championship against the Colts, A.D. was going to be able to handle Dallas Clark in coverage by himself.
In his first year, Thomas lived up to expectations to a degree. Recording 6.5 sacks, with two int's, Thomas played his best game in a Patriots uniform in Super Bowl XLII losing effort, with 2 sacks and a forced fumble. That would be the high point, as everything would be downhill afterwards. After an unspectacular 08' campaign, that saw his season come to an end due to injury, after playing in 9 games. The 09' Season became just plain nasty.
Thomas seemed to be in Coach Belichick's doghouse almost immediately as the season started. Most notably Thomas was benched for a Week 6 game against the Tennessee Titans for missing practice during a snowstorm. By the end of the season, Thomas was openly questioning the Coaches decision, and had become a locker room nuisance. A.Dlicious would be let go after the season, and wasn't able to catch on with another team for this past season.