The Patriots are masters at hoodwinking teams into overpaying for free agents.
It goes without saying that the Patriots are always two or three (and sometimes four) steps ahead the rest of the NFL. Whether it’s using the particulars of the handbook to their advantage, exploiting loopholes in contracts or something as simple as cutting/trading away players right before their overall value takes a nosedive, New England seemingly always has an intellectual card to play in all possible circumstances.
The way we see it, none of the Patriots’ methods present more hilarity than when they coerce other teams into laughably overpaying for a free agent that clearly exceeded his potential in their player-friendly system.
With this in mind, let’s highlight three of these most memorable instances across the last few years.
3. Trent Brown
The Patriots business revolving Trent Brown was the stuff of genius. For starters, they gave up minimal value to acquire him from San Francisco during the 2017 offseason. The former seventh-round pick responded by surprisingly establishing himself as pivotal component of the team’s Super Bowl run, as he started all 16 games while playing 97% of the offensive snaps.
Playing for a new contract, New England knew that Brown was going to command a ton of money on the open market after a breakout season at the all-important left tackle position. The franchise, which is notorious for refusing to pay offensive linemen top dollar, predictably let him walk without batting an eyelash.
The Florida product ended up signing a gargantuan four-year, $66 million contract with the then-Oakland Raiders, making him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history at the time. While Brown earned Pro Bowl honors this past season, he only featured in 11 games after struggling to fend off a pectoral muscle injury. The potential is there for the 27-year-old to live up to his contract, but there’s no doubting that the Patriots were smart in letting somebody else throw huge money his way after one good season.