The Cleveland Browns have spent much of the past few years making an effort to stockpile draft picks, but they recently let go of one of them when they were given the opportunity to acquire inside linebacker Jamie Collins from the New England Patriots in exchange for a conditional third-round compensatory draft pick.
Through six games started this season, Collins has recorded 43 tackles, one sack, a forced fumble, two interceptions, and three passes defensed. In other words, he has been a pretty impactful player. He was a Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro for his production during the 2015 season.
But Collins is also in a contract year, for which he has sky-high aspirations in terms of financial compensation, and, evidently, Patriots coach Bill Belichick has not always been thrilled with the Pro Bowler’s tendency to ‘freelance’ on occasion. There are reports that he is a fan of rookie Elandon Roberts, who will likely start now with Collins gone.
But the Browns are an 0-8 team badly in need of an influx of straight up talented players, and a vast amount of resources in terms of salary cap space and draft picks, so for a newly constructed front office like the one in Cleveland, this move probably made a lot of sense.
The Browns actually lost or released both of their starting inside linebackers from last season, and have been relying upon veteran backup Christian Kirksey and free agent signing Demario Davis. Davis has recorded 52 tackles with two passes defensed on the season thus far, while Kirksey has racked up the tackles with 72, in addition to a sack and a half and a pass defensed.
It doesn’t seem as though it’s immediately clear where and exactly in what role Collins will serve for the Browns, but they sound as though they are eager to get him involved as soon as possible, while taking advantage of his varied skill set and athleticism.
Said Browns head coach Hue Jackson, “Jamie Collins is a really good football player and we’re excited to be able to add a player like him to our team”. He added that Collins has played “at an extremely high level with toughness and playmaking ability for his entire career. We look forward to him being an important piece of our defense”.
The plan is for him to come in and learn our system quickly so he can make an immediate impact,” is the way that he finished his statement, which is unusually precise for such a comment. He followed up those comments with more praise yesterday.
“I think he is a tremendous pass rusher. He can play linebacker, I think there are several things he can do”, Jackson said. “He has a real versatile skill set you know because he has done both there in New England so we will definitely find ways to plug him in and have him be a contributing member to our defense”.