The New England Patriots aren’t known for making huge free-agent splashes, but head coach Bill Belichick has shown he’s not afraid to make a bold move if he believes it will help his team.
The Patriots reportedly agreed to terms with elite cornerback Darrelle Revis to a one-year, $12 million contract. Revis gives the Patriots’ defense a shut-down corner capable of defending the opponents’ top receivers each game. He’s also one of the smartest defensive backs in the NFL.
After the Patriots lost the 2006 AFC Championship Game to the Indianapolis Colts, the team opened the checkbook and spent lots of money on upgrades. One of the additions that offseason was linebacker Adalius Thomas, who played a major role in the Baltimore Ravens’ defensive success for many years. After a good but not great first season in New England, Thomas couldn’t play at an elite level throughout the remainder of his tenure in Foxboro. He was released before the 2010 season.
The addition of Rodney Harrison turned out to be one of Belichick’s best defensive signings. The veteran safety struggled to play well in his final years with the San Diego Chargers and became a free agent after the 2002 season. The Patriots took a chance on Harrison, and he provided the physical presence and veteran leadership the team’s secondary lacked. Harrison was a key member of two Super Bowl-winning teams.
Rosevelt Colvin was brought in the same summer as Harrison and gave the Patriots a smart linebacker capable of defending the pass and run very well. Colvin played in 65 games for New England before leaving the team in 2008.
The Patriots tried to bolster their defense after winning Super Bowl XXXVIII by signing defensive tackle Keith Traylor. He spent three years in Chicago before coming to New England, but he managed just 23 tackles and failed to tally a sack in his first and only season in New England in 2004.