Patriots: revisiting the Corey Dillon trade that helped team capture third Super Bowl

New England Patriots Corey Dillon (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
New England Patriots Corey Dillon (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) /

The Patriots acquired Corey Dillon back in 2004 in a trade that helped them win another Super Bowl.

After wasting away in Cincinnati for seven years and never coming close to sniffing the playoffs, Bengals running back Corey Dillon‘s “get out of jail free” card was being traded to the New England Patriots for a second-round pick in 2004.

After Rudi Johnson’s emergence in 2003, the Bengals figured they’d part ways with Dillon, who was aging and had a career-worst campaign that year due to injuries. It wasn’t a bad move, either. They got value for the three-time Pro Bowler and seamlessly transitioned to Johnson.

But little did they know they’d be the first of many future teams to watch a deal go sour with the Patriots and Bill Belichick.

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Dillon, who was in his age-30 season, rushed for a Patriots franchise record 1,635 yards (third in the NFL that year) and 12 touchdowns, and also added 15 receptions for 103 yards and a score across 15 games in 2004. In the playoffs, he added another 292 yards and two TDs on the ground in three games en route to the team’s third Super Bowl victory in four years.

He’d spend two more years with the Pats, compiling another 1,545 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns in 28 games between 2005 and 2006. He was done with football after his three-year tenure in New England.

What did the Bengals do? Well, after getting that 2004 second-round pick from the Pats, they stupidly decided to use their first-rounder on another running back (Chris Perry) despite Johnson’s presence, and then took Madieu Williams with New England’s selection. Williams would enjoy three good campaigns with Cincy before leaving in free agency.

Giving up a second-round pick for a 30-year-old running back sounds like lunacy in this day and age, but Belichick made it work in the best way possible back in 2004. NFL Blitz legend Corey Dillon got his Super Bowl ring and helped maintain the Pats’ dynasty.

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