New England Patriots: Bill Belichick resurrects players’ careers

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Bill Belichick has a history of resurrecting players’ careers with the New England Patriots and last year was furthermore proof of that.

Over the course of Bill Belichick’s amazing career as head coach and general manager of the New England Patriots, we have seen him make many moves and head scratching decisions.

But a method to Belichick’s madness has been the great ability to trade for or sign lower-end players who turn out to be integral pieces to championship teams.

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Throughout the years, we have seen players like Mike Vrabel and Wes Welker become pillars in New England after being brought in through a trade.

We have also seen Belichick hit on guys like BenJarvus Green-Ellis, David Andrews and Malcolm Butler who all started their careers as undrafted rookie free agents.

The most recent example of Belichick’s findings is Kyle Van Noy. After being drafted by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Van Noy only recorded 16 tackles in under three years with the Lions.

Belichick saw an opportunity and traded a 2017 sixth-round draft pick for Van Noy, who was a player that Belichick knew he could utilize in his system and receive the full potential of Van Noy in return.

Van Noy would go on to become a three-year starter for the New England Patriots, starting in 45 of 51 games with the team and won two Super Bowls. Van Noy finished his Patriots career with 221 tackles (21 for loss), 35 quarterback hits for 16.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, and two interceptions.

Before joining the Patriots, Van Noy was once looked at as a bottom of the barrel linebacker. Now in just three years he became the top free agent linebacker in the NFL and received a well earned and deserved $51 million contract from the Miami Dolphins.

The other example of Belichick’s most recent signing that benefited the team on a lower-end contract was Jamie Collins. Belichick signed Collins for his second stint with the Patriots to a veteran’s minimum of one year and $1.05 million. The irony here is that Collins left New England in 2016 for more money.

The thing with Collins is that since he was drafted into the Patriots’ system he has experience and understands what playing for Belichick can do for a player’s career. Collins, who bet on himself last year, went from making a league veteran’s minimum with the Pats to signing a $30 million contract with the Lions.

The aging and veteran team of the New England Patriots could not last forever, and at some point something like this happening was going to become inevitable. As of right now, the Patriots are going to have a rebuilt offense with a new identity and a retooled defense that should look the same for the most part, minus Van Noy and Collins.

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It’ll be intriguing to see what Belichick is able to do with his team this season considering that he lost a handful of key players through free agency this offseason, as well as a few important position coaches along the way.