Defensive end Jabaal Sheard was part of Cleveland Browns teams that posted a combined 20-44 record over the last four seasons. Meanwhile, tight end Scott Chandler was part of Buffalo Bills teams that went 31-49 over the last five seasons.
Between them, there was one winning season (Bills 9-7 in 2014) and no playoff appearances.
On Friday afternoon, the two highest-profile New England Patriots free-agent signings from other teams held conference calls and one common thread was their desire to be part of a winning culture.
For Chandler, the choice was between the Patriots and Ravens. He felt he couldn't go wrong.
"I was in a pretty good spot there, two really good organizations. That's really what it came down to. I've been playing for a while and I wanted to be a part of an organization that has a pretty good chance to win," Chandler said. "Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick have done an amazing job of not only creating that, but sustaining that for a long period of time. So I'm looking forward to going into this year and doing whatever I can to be a part of that."
Sheard echoed those thoughts, saying that winning and being part of a great organization drove his decision. He said the Seahawks and Buccaneers were also part of the discussion, and he believes a connection with former Browns general manager Michael Lombardi -- now serving as an assistant to the Patriots coaching staff -- played a role in New England pursuing him.
While playing under three defensive coordinators in four seasons might have stunted his growth as a player, Sheard wouldn't use that as an excuse.
"I feel like each scheme is different and I challenge myself to play whatever scheme and whatever position I'm put at," he said. "I take it all on myself to make that scheme work."