While Vinatieri was an interesting find for the Patriots organization, he was actually brought on during Bill Parcell's tenure. Adam came to the team in 1996 after playing a year in Europe for the Amsterdam Admirals. Prior to playing across the Atlantic, Vinatieri played four years at South Dakota State University.
In his first year as a member of the Colts, Adam would complete 14 of 15 field goals in the postseason. He did this in route to winning his 4th Super Bowl. As a member of the Colts, Adam set the record for most field goals made in a row (44) and earned another first team Pro Bowl award.
Since leaving the Patriots, Vinatieri has made 85.3% of his regular season field goal attempts and 85.7% of his playoff attempts. Considering that just under half of his attempts are from at least 40 yards, that's pretty impressive.
Given the fact that Vinatieri didn't really have a drop off until last year and the Patriots were dealing with a revolving door of kickers, surely Belichick is guilty of giving up on him too soon.
After signing free agent Martin Gramatica in the offseason, Belichick used pick 118 to take Stephen Gostkowski. The rookie Gostkowski won the job and has since accrued 3 Super Bowl rings, 4 selections to the Pro Bowl and the most points in a Patriots uniform. Below is a comparison of the two kickers from 2006-2019.
VERDICT- There was only one way for Belichick to have come out ahead on letting go of 34 year old Adam Vinatieri, and he did it with Stephen Gostkowski. Only time will tell if letting Gostkowski go this offseason is right move.
WHEN HAS BELICHICK LET A GUY GO TOO SOON? PART 1
WHEN HAS BELICHICK LET A GUY GO TOO SOON? PART 2
WHEN HAS BELICHICK LET A GUY GO TOO SOON? PART 3