10 star players Bill Belichick has mercilessly cut from the Patriots
Since 2000, New England Patriots longtime head coach Bill Belichick has made many difficult decisions when it comes to personnel movement.
Just prior to the 2000 NFL Draft, the Patriots sent the No. 16 pick in the upcoming draft, a fourth-rounder, and a seventh-rounder in 2001 to the New York Jets for the rights to Belichick, a 2001 fifth-rounder, and a 2002 seventh-rounder. From then on, perhaps what was the greatest trade in NFL history shaped the Pats into a dynasty. At the helm of New England’s dominance, Belichick led the team to win three titles in four years in the early 2000’s, two trips to the Super Bowl in the late 2000’s, and two more championship titles in just a span of the last four years.
However, coach Belichick was never afraid to waive big-name players from the Pats in order to stay ahead in such a cutthroat league navigating through the rigors of the hard salary cap.
Here are 10 of the star players coach Belichick has mercilessly cut from the Pats:
10. Brian Waters, offensive guard
Brian Waters, who spent 13 seasons in the NFL with three different teams, was an undrafted free agent who eventually became an absolute beast as an offensive lineman. Waters was selected to the Pro Bowl six times, five with the Kansas City Chiefs and once with the Patriots in the 2011-12 season.
He protected Pats legendary quarterback Tom Brady for two seasons before he was released in April of 2013. Waters went on to officially retire from the NFL in September of 2014.
9. Shawn Springs, cornerback
Shawn Springs was taken third overall in the 1997 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Although he enjoyed a very solid career that spanned over 13 seasons in the league, it seemed as if injuries played a key role in him not being able to play up to his true potential.
He played his last season in the NFL with the Patriots in 2009 before Belichick cut him in May of 2010.
8. John Lynch, strong safety
You read that correctly. Nine-time Pro Bowl safety John Lynch was indeed a member of the Patriots for a very brief time during the 2008 preseason. After he spent the first 11 seasons of his career as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ star safety, Lynch went on to play his final four years with the Denver Broncos.
When he did not make Belichick’s final 53-man roster at the end of the preseason, he was waived by the Pats and officially retired from the NFL later that season. He then spent a considerable amount of time as a color commentator with FOX before he was hired last year as the new general manager of the San Francisco 49ers.