Mid-Level Free Agents that Got Away

Greekca

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Feb 26, 2017
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Watching the Bears game last night and seeing Akiem Hicks continue to play at a very high level got me thinking about who was the best mid-level guy Belichick let go and shouldn’t have.

The thought here is to exclude high profile guys that either got up there in age (Mankins, Seymour, McGinest, etc.), signed for top contracts (Flowers, Solder, Woody, etc.), or were expected to and were jettisoned early (Collins, Jones, Branch, Garoppolo, etc.).

I couldn’t think of anyone that could top Hicks who signed for a pretty manageable 2 year deal and $10 million when he originally left. Darius Butler is another guy that had a decent post-Patriots career.
 
Apr 24, 2019
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Hicks is the one for me, too. One of a handful of losses that occurred because BB - all hail him - dicked around and got cute, made a late push and missed out. Hicks leaving arguably made it more likely that the FO drafted oft injured DL Dominique Easley. If we re-sign Hicks maybe we look to a different position at the end of the first round. Heavy sigh.

Oh well, guess we’ll just have to cuddle up with these SIX RINGS. (But still.)

Edit typos EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
 

Hatcher Steals Home

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Hicks leaving arguably made it more likely that the FO drafted oft injured DL Dominique Easley. If we re-sign Hicks maybe we look to a different position at the end of the first round.
Hicks left after 2015. Easley was drafted in ‘14.

Other notable mid-level departures could be Branch, but that depends on where we consider the mid-level to end. Benjamin Watson went on for a nice career as well.
 

Dollar

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May 5, 2006
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I guess Vinatieri could count as one, but things worked out okay for the Pats in the end. Darius Butler had an okay stint with the Colts, but he wasn't sorely missed.

The best part about this thread is that it's so hard to think of players who fit. You could probably look into any other team in the last 20 years and find 25 guys who they regret letting go of.
 

Marciano490

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I guess Vinatieri could count as one, but things worked out okay for the Pats in the end. Darius Butler had an okay stint with the Colts, but he wasn't sorely missed.

The best part about this thread is that it's so hard to think of players who fit. You could probably look into any other team in the last 20 years and find 25 guys who they regret letting go of.
Sheeet. You could probably find about that number of dudes that fit who we signed from other teams.
 

Old Fart Tree

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I guess Vinatieri could count as one, but things worked out okay for the Pats in the end. Darius Butler had an okay stint with the Colts, but he wasn't sorely missed.

The best part about this thread is that it's so hard to think of players who fit. You could probably look into any other team in the last 20 years and find 25 guys who they regret letting go of.
Yeah. They’ve always been good at the Branch Rickey: always trade a player a year too early rather than a year too late. Hicks is a good call here but Swuditizmane. They’ve been pretty smart and fortunate in this category.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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One of the few free agents that I really wanted on the Pats was Calais Campbell.

He was on the market in 2017, after being the anchor on a then-stout Cardinals D for a decade. Although he had turned 31, he was coming off of a 53-tackle and 8-sacks season. He had missed only 6 games until that point.

I always found him to be a jovial, fun guy who still exuded leadership whenever he was interviewed (ex. one of TB's Top 100 videos).

Ultimately, he signed with the Jags. The contract was for $60m/4-years and too rich for the Pats but would have loved to see him in a blue-and-silver.
 

Bellhorn

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I guess Asante Samuel probably falls into the top-contract category, but his departure certainly ushered in the lean years for the secondary.

Jabaal Sheard has had a pretty good post-Patriots career.
 

Mooch

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Even though he never played for the Pats, I was bummed that the Steelers blocked us from getting Emmanuel Sanders when he was a RFA.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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Even though he never played for the Pats, I was bummed that the Steelers blocked us from getting Emmanuel Sanders when he was a RFA.
That was a bit of a mistake by BB.

Pittsburgh was absolutely squeezed in the cap room at that time. The initial signing left just enough room for Steelers to match.

If BB structured the contract to be more front-loaded, I don't think it could have been matched.
 

BigSoxFan

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That was a bit of a mistake by BB.

Pittsburgh was absolutely squeezed in the cap room at that time. The initial signing left just enough room for Steelers to match.

If BB structured the contract to be more front-loaded, I don't think it could have been matched.
We’ll never know what that 2014 Pats team could have accomplished with Sanders instead of LaFell. Oh well.

Jokes aside, prime Sanders/Edelman/Gronk with Brady would have been awesome.
 

jsinger121

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That was a bit of a mistake by BB.

Pittsburgh was absolutely squeezed in the cap room at that time. The initial signing left just enough room for Steelers to match.

If BB structured the contract to be more front-loaded, I don't think it could have been matched.
This. The contract by BB was a total joke. He learned from it when he did the Hogan deal that Buffalo couldn’t match but Sanders would have been awesome with Brady.