Questionable moves in Patriots history
Jonathan Wiggs / Globe Staff Photo
Hall of Famer Curtis Martin may have been the best Patriot player to leave town too soon. From 1995-97, Martin performed as the big time running back the team had lacked for so many years, rushing for 3,799 yards with 32 touchdowns in that span. Then Pete Carroll, in what he later said was the biggest regret of his coaching career in New England, let Martin slip away to the New York Jets as a restricted free agent in exchange for a first- and third-round draft pick. Martin was awarded a six-year, $36 million contract for the move to the NYJs, where he starred for eight seasons, while the Patriots selected running back Robert Edwards with the first-round draft pick and fullback Chris Floyd with the third-round selection. Edwards looked to be every bit the legit replacement for Martin until he sustained a devastating knee injury playing beach football at the NFL Pro Bowl after the 1998 season.