With the NFL's Oct. 30 trade deadline approaching, it's time to start thinking about what kinds of moves can help the Patriots fill positions of need.
Bill Barnwell of ESPN did some of the work for us in his "11 sensible midseason NFL trade ideas" article published Thursday. One of those 11 ideas was a Jamie Collins/Patriots reunion. Barnwell proposes a deal that would send the veteran linebacker back to New England for a 2019 seventh-round pick.
Here's what else Barnwell had to say about the potential trade. . .
"Speaking of linebackers on unsustainable contracts, Collins' four-year, $50 million pact with the Browns hasn't worked out," Barnwell writes. "He missed 11 games in 2017 with a concussion and a torn MCL, and his role in the defense has been marginalized with Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey emerging as every-down linebackers. When Schobert and Kirksey are healthy, Collins is the guy usually coming off the field when the Browns go into their sub packages.
The Browns can cut Collins after the year and free up more than $9 million in cap space, which seems likely. In the meantime, they could convert some of the $7.5 million in prorated base salary remaining on Collins' deal into a signing bonus to make his contract more tradable. Let's say they convert $5 million into a bonus to save $2.5 million as part of a trade.
Collins' time in New England didn't end well, but the Patriots need help in their front seven after losing Ja'Whaun Bentley to a torn biceps. A healthy, motivated Collins would be an upgrade on the likes of Kyle Van Noy and free up Dont'a Hightower to take the occasional snap as an edge rusher, a tactic the Patriots used to try to create pressure before Hightower got injured last season. The Patriots wouldn't owe Collins any guaranteed money after the season and would surely ask Collins to renegotiate his deal to stay with the team. Would a one-year reunion make sense for both parties?"
Collins played for the Patriots from 2013 to the middle of the 2016 season when he was traded to Cleveland for a third-round compensatory pick. He tallied 10.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, and five interceptions in 50 games with New England.