Long known for getting the better end of seemingly every trade he makes, Bill Belichick has proven himself as overlord of the NFL once again. Three years after trading Jamie Collins to the Browns for a third-round pick, and avoiding overpaying Collins, the Patriots just got Collins back for nothing in free agency. And guess what? He’s probably going to be a solid pass rusher for them once again.
Collins has signed with the Patriots as a free agent after getting cut by the Browns in March. He was originally selected by the Pats in the second round of the 2013 draft and emerged as a standout for them, accumulating 206 tackles, 10.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss in 50 games. Then he wanted to get a huge pay bump and the Patriots shipped him off at the peak of his value.
The Browns probably had buyer’s remorse immediately. That never changed. Collins wasn’t good for the Browns, accumulating only seven sacks in his time with them. That’s why they cut him after trying to trade him themselves. No buyers, unfortunately. If only they had kept Belichick all those years ago.
Collins is 29 now so he won’t be an every-down player, but the Patriots know how to rotate their line to keep people fresh, and Collins could be part of that rotation. So the Patriots win again. They get a draft pick, don’t pay too much for a player who clearly wasn’t the dominant force some thought he was, trade him away at the height of his trade value, and then they get said player back for nothing. Who wants to bet he makes a decisive sack against the upstart Browns in the playoffs next year? That’s just the Patriots way.