There is always risk involved in NFL free agency, but it feels like there's a heightened level of risk when you add former New England Patriots players (or coaches, for that matter). Although Tom Brady is an exception, there aren't many New England Patriots that seem to thrive when they leave the Bill Belichick umbrella. One recent example is JC Jackson, who left New England for a big-money deal in Los Angeles only to become such a bad bust for the Chargers that he was traded back to New England.
Return to sender.
A number of other players have found the grass isn't exactly greener away from Foxborough and are failing with their new teams. Let's take a look at a handful of former Patriots who might have had it better in New England.
1. Damien Harris, RB, Bills
The former third-round pick out of Alabama looked like he was going to become the RB1 in New England at one point, but those hopes faded rather quickly. Back in 2021, he racked up 15 rushing touchdowns and over 1,000 yards from scrimmage with just two fumbles.
Unfortunately, Harris wasn't able to even come close to matching that level of production, and had a down year in 2022 with just 462 yards in 11 games, and hit 2023 free agency with his value pretty low.
It seemed like a great fit for Harris to sign with the Buffalo Bills, where there was not a lot of clarity at the running back position. Instead of Harris establishing himself as part of the rotation, he's been more of an afterthought with just 23 carries in six games.