So much for boring NFL trade deadlines. The Patriots made one of the biggest trade deadline moves in NFL history earlier today, stunning fans across the league by trading All-Pro linebacker Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns for a compensatory 2017 3rd round pick.
The move is a head scratcher to say the least. Just to clear things up a bit, we’re not getting Cleveland’s 3rd round pick, which will likely be in the 70s, we are getting a compensatory pick, picks the NFL only just recently made available to trade, which come at the end of the 3rd round. Jamie Collins was picked 52nd overall, and now the Patriots would be lucky to get the 104th pick in return for him. Trading one of the most talented players on your defense mid-season for a pick that will be in the 100s is not something any other contending NFL team could get away with, whether they were going to sign him or not. On top of all that, if they just let Jamie Collins walk in free agency and kept him on the roster for the Super Bowl run, they would have received… a 2018 3rd round compensatory pick.
There’s not really a clear cut reason why the Patriots traded Collins. Was he a locker room problem? We don’t know. Do they believe he is injury prone? We don’t know. Did they want to get more playing time for Elandon Roberts? We don’t know. Was the team frustrated with Collins lack of effort? We don’t know. Was Jamie Collins actually overrated and we overlooked it because he was so athletic? We don’t know. Will Bill Belichick answer these questions in his next press conference? Doubtful.
Rumors are beginning to surface that Collins was not following the defensive scheme and not doing the things coaches were telling him to do, and that Collins turned down an offer of 11 million per year. Many reports have now come out that Collins wanted “Von Miller money” from the Patriots.
We all have been frustrated with Collins at times. Whether it’s the Marshawn Lynch wheel route in Super Bowl 50, or allowing 2 touchdowns to Owen Daniels in the AFC Championship game, Collins always seemed to be the one who was making mistakes at the worst time possible. But does that mean the defense will get better without Collins on it? It seems impossible, but I don’t think Bill is stupid, and the most logical reason to do this deal from Bill’s perspective would be if Jamie Collins didn’t “Do his Job”.
Regardless of speculation and reports, the only logical reason to make a trade like this is because you believe it will help your team. If Collins was truly not following scheme and screwing up coverages, the Patriots clearly feel their defense will be better off without him. The Patriots remaining linebacking core is headlined by Dont’a Hightower, Barkevious Mingo, Elandon Roberts, and Shea McClellin. Only time will tell if they are right, but if the Patriots defense falls off bigtime after Collins’ departure, and they do not win the Super Bowl this year, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots front office may never live this down.
In Bill We Trust… *gulp*