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Dillon was a star with the Patriots, too.

It’s been an unusually busy offseason for the Patriots. New England signed Buffalo Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a big contract, and also added former Bengals running back Rex Burkhead.  The Patriots were also active in the trade market, acquiring WR Brandin Cooks from New Orleans, DE Kony Ealy from Carolina, and TE Dwayne Allen from the Colts.

Departing from New England? TE Martellus Bennett went to Green Bay, Jabaal Sheard went to Indianapolis, CB Logan Ryan went to Tennessee, while CB Malcolm Butler and RB LeGarrette Blount, among others, could still be on the move.

Which made me wonder: do the Patriots, as you might suspect, do better adding players from other teams than other teams do when adding players from the Patriots? The table below shows the most productive players (by AV) in year 1 in New England after playing for a different team the prior season. Note that this excludes Dion Lewis in 2015, who was not on an NFL team in 2014.

PlayerYearTeamAgePosAV
Randy Moss2007rai30WR20
Wes Welker2007mia26WR16
Corey Dillon2004cin30RB15
Darrelle Revis2014tam29DB14
Brian Waters2011kan34G13
Rodney Harrison2003sdg31DB13
Antowain Smith2001buf29RB12
Brandon LaFell2014car28WR11
Danny Woodhead2010nyj25RB10
Anthony Pleasant2001sfo33DE-DT10
Roman Phifer2001nyj33LB10
Brandon Lloyd20122TM31WR10
Drew Bledsoe2000nwe28QB10
Donte' Stallworth2007phi27WR9
David Patten2001cle27WR9
Mike Compton2001det31G-C9
Andre Carter2011was32DE-LB9
Troy Brown2000nwe29WR9
Deion Branch2010sea31WR9
Adalius Thomas2007rav30LB-DE8
Willie McGinest2000nwe29DE-LB8
Bobby Hamilton2000nyj29DE-DT8
Terry Glenn2000nwe26WR8
Kevin Faulk2000nwe24RB8
Reche Caldwell2006sdg27WR8
Bruce Armstrong2000nwe35T-G8
Damien Woody2000nwe23C-G7
Mike Vrabel2001pit26LB7
Chris Slade2000nwe29LB7
Tyrone Poole2003den31DB7
Lawyer Milloy2000nwe27DB7
Chris Hogan2016buf28WR7
Chad Eaton2000nwe28DT7
Tedy Bruschi2000nwe27LB7
Leigh Bodden2009det28DB7
Martellus Bennett2016chi29TE7
Tully Banta-Cain2009sfo29LB7
Ted Washington2003chi35DT6
Otis Smith2000nyj35DB6
Junior Seau2006mia37LB6
Chris Long2016ram31DE6
Ty Law2000nwe26DB6
Ted Johnson2000nwe28LB6
Danny Amendola2013ram28WR6

What about going the other way? Well, there are a lot fewer “success” stories on here.

PlayerYearTeamAgePosAV
Drew Bledsoe2002buf30QB14
Asante Samuel2008phi27DB12
Darrelle Revis2015nyj30DB10
Ty Law2005nyj31DB10
Chandler Jones2016crd26DE9
Aqib Talib2014den28DB9
Danny Woodhead2013sdg28RB9
Akiem Hicks2016chi27DE8
Akeem Ayers2015ram26LB8
Vince Wilfork2015htx34NT-DT8
Wes Welker2013den32WR8
BenJarvus Green-Ellis2012cin27RB8
Lawyer Milloy2003buf30DB8
Terry Glenn2002gnb28WR8
Chad Eaton2001sea29DT-NT8
Brandon LaFell2016cin30WR7
Tommy Kelly2014crd34DE-DT7
Dan Koppen2012den33C7
Matt Cassel2009kan27QB7
Greg Randall2003htx25T7
Josh Kline2016oti27OL6
Shane Vereen2015nyg26RB6
Logan Mankins2014tam32G6
Ben Watson2010cle30TE6
Mike Vrabel2009kan34LB6
Richard Seymour2009rai30DE-DT6
Jabar Gaffney2009den29WR6
Tully Banta-Cain2007sfo27LB6
Willie McGinest2006cle35DE-LB6
Deion Branch2006sea27WR6
Keith Traylor2005mia36LB-DT-NT6
Damien Woody2004det27C-G6
Tebucky Jones2003nor29DB6
Bernard Holsey2003was30DT-DE6
Matt Stevens2002htx29DB6

As always, please leave your thoughts in the comments.

  • macatawami

    I think there’s a key component missing from these tables, and that’s salary or acquisition price. The Patriots traded second-round picks for Welker and Dillon, and signed Revis to a relatively large one-year contract, but other than that, most of their acquisitions were brought in relatively cheaply. On the other hand, most players heading out from the Patriots were paid a lot more. The Bills traded a first-round pick for Bledsoe, Samuel/Revis/Law/Talib all got big contracts, and the Cardinals traded a second-round pick for Jones.

    Given what you noted about the relative “success” of the incoming and outgoing players, this says a lot.

    • Yep, good point. Unfortunately that acquisition cost info isn’t in my database.

  • Michael Carlson

    Drew Bledsoe 2000?

    • Dave

      I’m guessing the data starts in 2000 and sees that season as the first year, so the whole 2000 Pats are included in the data. Just ignore them.

  • Josh Sanford

    And for the second year after acquisition, here are the AVs, with (relative to Year One) next to that.

    Randy Moss 2008 11 (-9)

    Wes Welker 2008 13 (-3)

    Corey Dillon 2005 6 (-9)

    Darrelle Revis 2015 10 (-4)

    Brian Waters 2012 0 (-13)

    Rodney Harrison 2004 11 (-2)

    Antowain Smith 2002 9 (-3)

    Brandon LaFell 2015 5 (-6)

    Danny Woodhead 2011 5 (-5)

    Anthony Pleasant 2002 5 (-5)

    Roman Phifer 2002 6 (-4)

    Brandon Lloyd 2013 0 (-10)

    Donte’ Stallworth 2008 1 (-8)

    David Patten 2002 8 (-1)

    These 14 guys totaled 172 AV in Year One and then only 90 AV in Year Two. What does this show or mean? That contracts should be short? That when you are old enough to sign as a FA, you are already in decline? That it’s hard to be good in consecutive years? Something else? Nothing? (I left Bledsoe off my calculation because I didn’t think he belonged in table one.)

    • Tom

      I find this even more fascinating…Josh, were these guys still on the Patriots? That’s what’s interesting: they get to the Pats, are incredible, then next year, still on the Pats, not so good? Why?

      • Tom

        Never mind…I see Revis, he went to Jets in 2015, etc.

    • sn0mm1s

      In 2008 Brady wasn’t the starting QB – Cassel was. That would explain the severe drop for some of the offensive players.

    • Four Touchdowns

      I also think we need to see a baseline of how good they were with and without Brady and Belichick. Like what was their AV before arriving / leaving the Pats?

      • Four Touchdowns

        Looking at Randy Moss, he hit 17 AV three times before the Patriots but his three seasons prior to 2007 had an AV of 8, 8,and 3 respectively. He hit 20 with Brady in 2007, jumped down to 11 with Cassel in 2008 and then bounced back up to 13 with Brady in 2009.

        Looking at Revis, he had an AV of 15 in 2011, lost 2012 to injury, had a 7 with Tampa Bay in 2013, jumped back up to 14 in 2014, and then slipped down to 10 in 2015.

        With Drew Bledsoe, his highest AV was 16 in 1996 and then went 14, 12, 11, and 10 before losing 2001 to injury. So getting 14 is a “best case scenario” in signing him.

        And so on.

  • Tom Goodrich

    AV is a nifty stat and better than any publicly available alternative I’m aware of… but it does have some obvious inherent problems that we should keep in mind when using it. This post runs right into maybe the biggest flaw.

    Under the AV system, a player’s AV total will vary significantly for the same performance depending on the quality of the offense or defense that he is on. This is as much a feature of AV as it is a bug when you look at large aggregate groups of players, but when you’re comparing a sampling of player-years from the Belichick-era Patriots with a sampling of player-years from a fairly random selection of the other 31 teams over that period, you’d expect to see the Patriots group have a *much* higher AV if starts, pro-bowls, etc. and all else are relatively equal (to say nothing of the fact that AV provides a multiplier bonus for PB/AP honors and guys on the Patriots are probably more likely to get such honors for a given level of performance due to increased attention and team success).

    I’m coming at this as a Patriots fan so I’d love to believe that the players who go to the Pats tend to do brilliantly and the ones who leave tend to do poorly, and there’s a kernel of truth there, but I think taking the AV numbers at face value would lead us to overestimate the magnitude of that effect. You can see that in some relatively dubious head to head AV results: Anthony Pleasant was a solid DE in 2001 (10 AV), but Chandler Jones (9 AV) was almost certainly better in 2016, and I’d say the same of Akiem Hicks (8 AV). Danny Woodhead’s 2010 (10 AV), Brandon LaFell’s 2014 (11 AV), and Brian Waters’ 2011 (13 AV) are probably all inflated a bit due to playing on superb offenses relative to Asante Samuel’s 2008 (12 AV), Aqib Talib’s 2014 (9 AV), and Ty Law’s 10 INT 2005 (10 AV). It’s not so much that those players who left the Pats are necessarily being underrated by AV as it is that some offensive players who were valuable contributors but also somewhat “along for the ride” are getting overrated because there are so many AV points sloshing around on those all time Patriots offenses.