5 of the worst free agent signings during the Bill Belichick era

Explore the New England Patriots' history of free agent signings under Bill Belichick, uncovering both hits and misses, as the NFL free agency period approaches.

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The NFL free agent signing period is just under a week away. Several notable names have been added to the pool due to being salary cap casualties. Safeties Justin Simmons and Jordan Poyer, along with cornerback Tre'Davious White, now occupy space in the unforgiving universe that is the NFL free agency.

Luckily, the New England Patriots are armed with more than enough money to throw at several of the top free agents this upcoming week. While the idea of giving star players the bag seems fun at the time, sometimes it doesn't always work out. Moves once perceived to be home runs in the offseason can age as well as month's old milk.

Luckily, the Patriots have always been one of those teams that tightrope free agency very well. Under Bill Belichick, deals were rarely given out to players who didn't provide value to the team. While not all were hits, the hits outweighed the misses. There will always be misses, regardless of whether or not you are the greatest coach in NFL history and a football savant.

With the free agency window opening up, let's take a quick walk down memory lane to the five worst free agent signings that happened under Bill Belichick. We start with the most recent signing at the wide receiver position.

5 of the worst free agent signings during the Bill Belichick era

5. 2023 - JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR

Once upon a time, the New England Patriots signed a wide receiver from Kansas City who had been struggling with consistency. The year was 2023. The times were troubling. The Patriots needed wide receiver depth and settled on free agent JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Smith-Schuster signed a three-year, $25.5M contract with the New England Patriots last offseason in the hopes of bringing a steadiness to the Pats' passing attack. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

Smith-Schuster played in 11 games last season, hauling 29 receptions for a meager 260 yards. He did catch a touchdown, so there's that. This signing was a disaster. The team didn't utilize him and, he was a non-factor throughout his first season in New England.

Point fingers at the play-calling all you want, but there was a reason why the Pittsburgh Steelers gave up on him before he hit his prime. That was most likely the same reason why the Chiefs didn't mind losing him in free agency. The salary just doesn't match the production. This goes down as one of the worst signings of the Belichick era, for sure.