New England Patriots: 5 Best Free Agent Signings In Franchise History

5 Best New England Patriots Free Agent Signings Ever

New England Patriots free agent signings
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The history of the New England Patriots in the NFL has been a tale of two stories, as they were largely average from 1971-2000, but since have developed into one of the class NFL organizations. Of course, Bill Belichick coming on board at the turn of the millennium has played a huge role in this, as his wheeling and dealing has led to three Super Bowls.

Here are the five best free agent signings that have led to their historical success.

5. Shawn Jefferson

shawn jefferson new england patriots
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5. Shawn Jefferson

shawn jefferson new england patriots
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Shawn Jefferson was brought in prior to the Belichick era, but he still helped the team reach three postseason appearances between 1996 and 1999. Jefferson wasn't the biggest star, but he did catch 178 passes for 3,081 yards and 14 touchdowns during his four seasons with the Patriots, including an instrumental role in a run to the 1996 Super Bowl.

4. Rob Ninkovich

Rob Ninkovich New England Patriots
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4. Rob Ninkovich

Rob Ninkovich New England Patriots
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Rob Ninkovich was brought into the Patriots prior to the 2009 season as a long snapper, but he has since developed into a force at outside linebacker. Over the last five seasons, Ninkovich has picked up 308 tackles, eight forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries and four interceptions, and has helped the team reach the playoffs in each season.

3. Mike Vrabel

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3. Mike Vrabel

new england patriots mike vrabel
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Mike Vrabel signed with the Patriots in 2001 after being a virtual non-factor with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and quickly became one of the main character players in New England. Over the next eight seasons, Vrabel missed only three games, picked up 48 sacks, 11 interceptions, forced 14 fumbles, made one Pro Bowl, and won three Super Bowls. Vrabel wasn't the most talented player ever, but he played a big role in the Belichick era success.

2. Rodney Harrison

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2. Rodney Harrison

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Rodney Harrison is another player who has come to define the early success of the Belichick era, as he came into town in 2003 and instantly became a winner. The Patriots would win the Super Bowl in Harrison's first season, as Harrison became a dominant physical force at safety. He would stay in town for five more seasons, and left with two Super Bowl rings, two Pro Bowl appearances and a place in Patriots lore.

1. Adam Vinatieri

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1. Adam Vinatieri

adam vinatieri new england patriots
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The New England Patriots were the first NFL team that Adam Vinatieri ever played for, but he did suit up for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe in 1995. After joining the Patriots, Vinatieri became one of the most consistent kickers in NFL history, made two Pro Bowl appearances, and contributed three Super Bowl winning field goals before departing in 2006. It is safe to say he was a successful signing.


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