Jamie Collins was a freelancer on the field, and the Patriots weren't going to continue to put up with it.
That's how former assistant to the Patriots coaching staff Mike Lombardi explained the team's decision to trade Collins, a Pro Bowl linebacker last season, to the Browns for a compensatory third-round pick.
"Not surprised by the Pats trading Collins," Lombardi tweeted on Monday. "Not been playing well at all they need to get the defense fixed. This will get their attention."
Lombardi added: "Collins on the second play of the game [versus Buffalo] does whatever he wants and Bills gain 28 yards. Been happening all year. It was not going to continue."
The play Lombardi referenced was Bills running back Mike Gillislee's 28-yard run in the first quarter. Collins crept up to the line of scrimmage and shot a gap between the guard and tackle anticipating an inside run. Gillislee instead bounced outside and had plenty of room to run. Had Collins remained on the defensive right side of the formation, he may have been in position to make a play.
Collins' athleticism is what has made him one of the game's most impactful linebackers over the last season-and-a-half, but Lombardi insists that his eagerness to go off-script was not going to be tolerated any further.
"You are either coaching it or allowing it to happen," Lombardi wrote. "Belichick decided he was not going to allow it to happen. Colllins talented but..."
Collins played 47 of a possible 69 defensive snaps in Sunday's win over Buffalo, which came as somewhat of a head-scratcher since he is usually close to a 100 percent participant when healthy. Sixth-round rookie Elandon Roberts saw time in place of Collins in certain packages, playing 28 snaps total.
Lombardi worked in New England during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, and he worked with the team into last offseason before he and the Patriots mutually parted ways. Lombardi, who worked under Belichick during Belichick's head coaching tenure in Cleveland, now serves as an analyst for Fox.