During his two decades as head coach there has been a few. With recent hope that Cam Newton would join that list, I decided to take a look back as players who had prior success, even those who were elite at their position elsewhere, who came to New England and found a new level of success.
By way of surprising trades or free agency, these five players found a new level of success with the Patriots under the guidance of Bill Belichick and let’s start with a player who didn’t win a Super Bowl with the Patriots but went on to win one elsewhere.
No. 5 Aqib Talib
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Prior to the 2012 NFL trade deadline, the Patriots were starving for a cornerback and took a shot at a talented player who had numerous arrests and off-the-field problems.
In acquiring Aqib Talib for a 2013 fourth-round pick, Belichick was taking a chance that his no non-sense approach would work on a player with tremendous talent. It was a low-risk, high-reward gamble that paid off nicely as Talib morphed into one of the top cornerbacks in the league.
New England Patriots and Bill Belichick gambled on Aqib Talib and it paid off
Though injuries seemed to come at the wrong time for Talib during his time with the Patriots, his length, skillset and attitude on the field helped stabilize the Patriots secondary. He not only took some of the top wide receivers out of games, but he was also able to cover explosive tight ends like Jimmy Graham.
Now, Talib had just 5 interceptions in his season and a half with the New England Patriots, but playing under Bill Belichick helped resurrect his career as he went on to play for the Denver Broncos where he won a Super Bowl championship.
It should also be noted that Belichick attempted to bring Talib back prior to the 2020 NFL season before he retired. Talib turned down his “homie” but will always be grateful to the man who gave him a chance and turned his NFL career around.