Former assistant to the Patriots’ coaching staff Mike Lombardi joined Kirk and Callahan on WEEI Tuesday, doubling down on his insistence that the Patriots traded Jamie Collins because the player simply wasn’t that good.
THE COLLINS TRADE: THE DAY AFTER
-- Curran: A drastic move for a not-so-drastic time
-- Linebackers coach: Collins' 'freelancing' wasn't an issue
-- Patricia lauds Collins
-- Butler: 'Shocked. Just shocked' at trade
“Watch the tape. Watch him try to cover in the playoffs,” Lombardi pleaded. “Jamie has not played particularly well. That’s the reality.”
Lombardi, who had tweeted following Monday’s trade of Collins to the Browns that the player is prone to do “whatever he wants” rather than sticking to his assignments, said that Collins’ status as an upcoming free agent didn’t strike him as the reason for the trade.
“Look, it’s not about his contract next year. Let’s forget that, all right? Because if he was playing at, as you call, the Pro Bowl level, as you believe he’s playing, they would keep him and use him,” Lombardi said. “But if he’s playing at the level that I watch on tape, there is really nothing you can do. You’re better off trying to cut your losses, get something for him. It’s nothing about the extension. It’s not about next year.”
Lombardi noted that the Patriots could no longer play Collins in running situations and intimated that managing when they could and couldn’t put him on the field would be a challenge as the season went on. He also flatly refuted a Boston Globe report that the Patriots had offered the player $11 million a year to stay in New England.
“I don’t think that’s accurate,” he said. “In fact, I know that’s not accurate. [Agent] Bus Cook said there’s been no discussion about his contract. So there’s no $11 million offer. There’s never been an offer of that, and Bus Cook admitted that.”
While Lombardi’s experience has earned him multiple jobs both in the NFL and in the media, one common takeaway from his criticism of Collins was that he was defending Bill Belichick because of their time together. Lombardi said his words were based solely on watching the player play.
“I think if you’re just objective — look, that’s the one thing,” Lombardi said. “I think when Belichick says, ‘I did what’s best for the team,’ I think he really means it.
“I’m not an apologist for Belichick. We’ve had a lot of discussions in terms of what we disagree on and what we agree on in terms of when I’ve worked with him and when I haven’t worked with him. I think when he ends up making a decision, it isn’t just by the seat of his pants. It’s through a lot of thought, it’s through a lot of study, and the perception in this case doesn’t meet the reality.”