New England Patriots: 15 best free agent acquisitions of all-time

Mike Vrabel, New England Patriots. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Mike Vrabel, New England Patriots. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) /
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Rosevelt Colvin, New England Patriots
Rosevelt Colvin, New England Patriots. (Photo by Mark Konezny/NFLPhotoLibrary) /

5. player. 47. . LB. (2003-08). Rosevelt Colvin

  • 2x Super Bowl champion (XXXVIII, XXXIX)
  • 317 career tackles
  • 52.5 career sacks
  • Three career interceptions

Rosevelt Colvin is an interesting player to consider when analyzing the best free agents in New England franchise history.

He was absolutely terrific during the 2001 and 2002 seasons he spent on the team that drafted him in the Chicago Bears. Colvin had 21 sacks and 133 tackles across 32 games of action. These were impressive enough stats that they earned him a lucrative contract in free agency with New England in March 2003.

On the one hand, Colvin was a bit underwhelming as a Patriot. After posting back-to-back double-digit sack totals in his two most recent seasons as a Bear, Colvin had just 2.0 sacks in 2003, 5.0 sacks in 2004, 7.0 sacks in 2005, 8.5 sacks in 2006, 4.0 sacks in 2007 and then 0.0 sacks in his final NFL season back in 2008.

In other words, it’s easy to make a case that Colvin didn’t deliver on the promise of his phenomenal 2001 and 2002 seasons.

On the other hand though, Colvin continued to build on his sack totals every year he played with the Patriots until 2007. He also made plenty of tackles for Bill Belichick during the mid-2000s, racking up totals of 32, 60, 53 and 27, in the years 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, respectively.

So one could also theoretically argue that the Patriots found a solid, valuable contributor on defense for about six years, particularly during the four years just mentioned.

Other free agents mentioned both above and below Colvin on this list spent less time than he did on the Patriots roster. So clearly Colvin’s importance to the team goes beyond just his statistical production.

Colvin also had a knack for being at the right place at the right time, as shown by his seven forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries during his time in New England.

He was a full-time contributor at outside linebacker for the Pats during their second and third Super Bowl seasons. If injuries hadn’t hampered his development, there’s a decent chance he could have made an even greater impact than he did.

Even as it stands now though, Colvin was a significant member of the vaunted Patriots’ defense that laid the foundational bedrock for this current dynasty.