It’s undeniable that while the New England Patriots have had great success through the NFL draft their signing of free agents hasn’t gone as well. It’s been reported that new free agent signing Joseph Addai struggled with his conditioning test and then abruptly quit. This is the second year that the Patriots have made an addition of a veteran which didn’t work out.
Over the past decade the Patriots have been pretty consistent at making the right decisions in the NFL draft, trades, and with signing free agents but recently that has changed. In 2001 the Patriots added David Patten who would be a key member of three Super Bowl victories. In 2004 Corey Dillon was added from Cincinnati going to the Pro Bowl that year and helping the Patriots to their third Super Bowl title. In 2007 the Patriots made two great additions to their offense by adding Randy Moss and Wes Welker both of whom would be selected to multiple Pro Bowls with the team.
Early in the 2010 season, Moss was traded back to his original team, the Minnesota Vikings. The next offseason the Patriots attempted to replace him with another previous perennial Pro Bowler Chad Ochocinco (now Johnson). Johnson’s arrival was an attempt to not miss a step after losing Moss but that wouldn’t be the case. In 2011 Johnson accumulated a mere 15 receptions for 276 yards as he reportedly never fully understood the Patriots playbook and was subsequently released in June.
The Patriots will have a chance to change their recent succession of failures this coming season as they’ve added veteran tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. However, if this recent trend continues it could be another early exit. While Bill Belichick’s tradition of successful NFL draft picks continues, Addai’s departure proves the continuous good signings made by the Patriots has officially come to a halt.