Bill Belichick Is Savage: 11 Big-Name NFL Players He Sent Packing
Many people call him a cheater, and others think he is just an arrogant jerk. Regardless of your opinion, there is simply no denying that Bill Belichick is on track to go down as best coach in the history of the National Football League. With 13 division titles, six AFC titles, and four Super Bowl titles, what he does as the head coach and General Manager of the New England Patriots is truly remarkable. Equally impressive is the job he does running the franchise’s personnel department.
For starters, he is responsible for drafting Tom Brady, who is arguably the greatest player in NFL history. Beyond that, we could list countless additional draft picks, trades, and free-agent signings that make him a Hall of Fame-caliber front office executive. But what truly sets Belichick apart from his peers is his ability to make difficult decisions and part ways with Pro Bowl- and All-Pro-caliber players if doing so is what’s best for the team.
The reality of the situation in New England is that anybody not named Tom Brady instantly becomes expendable if they don’t fit in with the “Patriot Way.” Here are 11 big-name players who Belichick has sent packing during his reign in New England.
- Drew Bledsoe, quarterback
We’ll forever remember Drew Bledsoe for being the quarterback replaced by Tom Brady. The Patriots used the No. 1 overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft on the former Washington State signal caller, and Bledsoe quickly rewarded them as he emerged as a legitimate franchise quarterback before celebrating his 25th birthday.
As history would have it, though, his injury during Week 2 of the 2001 season opened the door for Brady, and Bledsoe would never start another game for New England. Brady went on to lead the Pats to the Super Bowl title later that year. That offseason, Belichick traded Bledsoe to the Buffalo Bills.
- Lawyer Milloy, safety
Like so many others, Lawyer Milloy’s tenure with the Patriots came to an end for financial reasons. After failing to reach an agreement on a reworked deal, Belichick cut the four-time Pro Bowler just days before New England’s 2003 season opener. During his time with New England, Milloy won a Super Bowl ring and made four Pro Bowl rosters and two All-Pro teams. He was later named to the franchise’s 1990s and 2000s All-Decade teams.
- Ty Law, cornerback
In addition to being one of the best players in Patriots history, Ty Law is also among the most notable players the team has cut throughout the years. In his 10 seasons with New England, Law was named to five Pro Bowl and two All-Pro teams; he led the league in interceptions twice; and he was a key member of three Super Bowl-winning teams. Law went on to play for the New York Jets (twice), Kansas City Chiefs, and Denver Broncos before retiring in 2010. He is now a member of the Patriots Hall of Fame, and was selected to the franchise’s 50th Anniversary, 1990s and 2000s All-Decade teams.
- Willie McGinest, outside linebacker
After 12 seasons, four AFC championships, three Super Bowl titles, and two trips to the Pro Bowl, the Patriots cut Willie McGinest following the 2005 season. The NFL record holder for the most career postseason sacks played three more seasons with the Cleveland Browns before being named to the Patriots 1990s and 2000s All-Decade teams and earning induction into the franchise’s Hall of Fame in 2015.
- Mike Vrabel, linebacker
Mike Vrabel did a little bit of everything during his eight years with the Patriots. He was the consummate team player, contributing at multiple positions on both sides of the ball. He was also a key contributor to three Super Bowl championship teams. Shortly after the 2008 season, Belichick sent him and quarterback Matt Cassell to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a second-round draft pick.
- Richard Seymour, defensive end
Under Belichick, Richard Seymour learned there is little loyalty in the National Football League. After helping the team to three Super Bowl titles — earning Pro Bowl honors five times and All-Pro honors four times along way — the Patriots sent Seymour to the Oakland Raiders in the final year of his contract. They chose to do this rather than attempt to work out a long-term extension to keep him in New England.