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Patriots Football Weekly Blog


Top 20 Patriots Free Agents of All-Time

Posted Mar 10, 2014

With free agency set to begin on March 11, Patriots Football Weekly's Paul Perillo counts down his top-20 Patriots free agents of all-time.

#20: Tom Tupa - Backup quarterback and punter, Tupa was a steady member of some successful teams under Bill Parcells and Pete Carroll.

#19: Dave Meggett - One of the first big-name free agents the Patriots ever signed, Meggett was an instrumental part of back-to-back AFC East title-winning teams in 1996-97.

#18: Tyrone Poole - His time in New England didn’t last long but Poole turned in a terrific season in 2003 and tied for the team lead with six picks.

#17: Willie Clay - Nickname “Big Play” says it all. Clay’s interception in the end zone to clinch the 1996 AFC Championship Game was his signature moment.

#16: Andre Carter - Signed after the lockout ended in 2011, Carter turned in one of the best seasons of his productive career en route to a Pro Bowl berth.

#15: Mike Compton - Like Andruzzi, Compton’s toughness up front helped change the culture in New England during the early part of Belichick’s tenure.

#14: Christian Fauria - Quietly went about his job and proved to be the most reliable and productive tight end on some very successful Patriots teams.

#13: Danny Woodhead - Picked up off the street in the middle of 2010, Woodhead did nothing but make plays out of the backfield during his three seasons.

#12: David Patten - One of the most overlooked elements on the title-winning teams, Patten’s speed on the outside led to a boatload of big plays for the offense.

#11: Brian Waters - He took training camp off in 2011, then signed and turned in an All-Pro caliber performance at right guard for the AFC champs.

#10: Bobby Hamilton - One of many former Jets that Bill Belichick brought in to help in the leadership department.

#9: Henry Thomas - The veteran defensive lineman brought class and professionalism to Foxborough on Pete Carroll’s talented teams of the late-’90s.

#8: Joe Andruzzi - Another under-the-radar signing, Andruzzi’s toughness was a huge part of offensive lines that paved the way for the Patriots running game.

#7: Rob Ninkovich - Signed as an afterthought during training camp in 2009, Ninkovich is now one of the team’s key defenders and playmakers.

#6: Shawn Jefferson - Few provided more big plays in the passing game for Drew Bledsoe and the Patriots offense in the 1990s than Jefferson.

#5: Antowain Smith - The workhorse back carried the offense to a pair of titles in 2001 and 2003.

#4: Larry Izzo - Arguably the best special teams player in team history, Izzo’s professionalism was an underrated element of the championship era.

#3: Roman Phifer - Bill Belichick joked that he signed Phifer as a role player in 2001 and he wound playing virtually every snap and was a mainstay on three title teams.

#2: Rodney Harrison - His physical presence in the secondary set an immediate tone in New England that helped lead to back-to-back titles.

#1: Mike Vrabel - After steady yet unspectacular career in Pittsburgh, Vrabel developed into a versatile playmaker for years with the Patriots.

What do you think about the list? Share your favorite Patriots free agents of all-time in the comment section below!

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The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on the PFW Blog represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the New England Patriots organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Patriots officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

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