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Patriots Football Weekly Blog

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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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