10 star players Bill Belichick has mercilessly cut from the Patriots
7. Corey Dillon, running back
Corey Dillon was a really solid running back, especially in his first season with the Patriots in 2004 after New England traded a second-round pick to the Cincinnati Bengals in order to get the star.
In his first year with the Pats after seven seasons in Cincy, Dillon had the best season of his career up to that point. In 15 regular season games, the four-time Pro Bowl running back rushed for 12 touchdowns on the ground to go along with a career-high 1,635 yards on 345 carries. During that postseason in which the Pats won their third Super Bowl in four years, Dillon rushed for a total of 292 yards, caught nine passes for 53 yards, and scored 2 touchdowns in New England’s 3 postseason games.
However, Dillon’s NFL career would last just two more seasons despite scoring 25 touchdowns combined in the 2005 and 2006 seasons. At the age of 32, Dillon was released by New England in March of 2007 and never played again in the NFL.
6. Willie McGinest, outside linebacker
As a New England Patriots Hall of Fame inductee in 2015, outside linebacker Willie McGinest was a huge part of the team’s success when they won three Super Bowl titles in four seasons in the early 2000’s.
McGinest holds the current playoff record for most sacks in a single postseason game with 4.5, done in January of 2006 during a 28-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also has the most career postseason sacks in NFL history with 16.0.
After he was selected No. 4 overall by the Pats in the 1994 NFL Draft, he was finally released by the team in March of 2006 after posting 78.0 career regular-season sacks with New England.
5. Chad Ochocinco, wide receiver
Another former star Cincinnati Bengals player, Chad Ochocinco (Chad Johnson) was one of the most entertaining players in the NFL for years. After he was selected No. 36 overall by the Bengals in the 2001 NFL Draft, Johnson put up great numbers for 10 years in Cincy and was selected to the Pro Bowl six times over that span.
In July of 2011, the Pats acquired Johnson in a trade with Cincinnati after he restructured a three-year contract for $6.35 million. New England traded two draft picks, a fifth-round pick in 2012 and a sixth-round pick in 2013 in exchange for Ochocinco.
Johnson had the least productive season ever in 2011-12 with the Patriots, as he caught just 15 passes for 276 yards and one touchdown in 15 games. He caught one pass for 21 yards during the Pats’ 21-17 loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl 46 and was eventually released by coach Belichick and the Pats in June of 2012.