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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4. 2015 - Scott Chandler, TE

Let's rewind to 2015. The Patriots were coming off a 12-4 season. Rob Gronkowski was coming off his second 1,000-yard receiving season, and the Pats were looking to pair him with another high-caliber tight end.

The Patriots signed Scott Chandler from the Bills with a two-year, $5.3M deal. Chandler was supposed to be an opposing weapon opposite Gronk. The goal was that Chandler would help open up the outside of the field as an over-the-middle threat in the passing game.

Chandler appeared in 15 games for the Pats in his first season. He caught 23 passes for 259 yards and four touchdowns. A knee injury cost him his second season with the team and, ultimately his career.

The Patriots signed Chandler in the hopes that he would form a formidable tandem with Gronk. Instead, they acquired an oft-injured tight end who made a minimal impact on the field. His time with New England was forgettable, and his signing was not the wisest during the Belichick era.

3. 2021 - Nelson Agholor, WR

Seemingly always in the market for wide receiver help, back in 2021, the Patriots gave former Eagles and Raiders wide receiver Nelson Agholor a two-year, $22M deal. It made some sense - Agholor was arguably coming off his best season with 896 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.

Agholor struggled, to say the least. He appeared in 31 out of 32 regular-season games for the Pats, and in his two years on the team, he amassed 835 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Paying $11M a season for a receiver who averages a little over 400 yards and two touchdowns a season is tough.

The Pats chose not to retain the receiver after the 2022 season. Agholor was paid like a low-end first receiving option or a high-end number two option, when in reality, he is a glorified third or fourth option.

After the 2022 season, Agholor found his way onto the Baltimore Ravens and continued his mediocre trajectory with 381 receiving yards on 35 receptions. This was an awful signing by the Patriots.