Patriots

Return of Jamie Collins to Patriots may not be as wacky as it sounds

Return of Jamie Collins to Patriots may not be as wacky as it sounds

Didn’t Jamie Collins just sign a fat deal with the Browns 15 minutes ago? Why would the Patriots want to trade for an overpaid guy they already got sick of once? Isn’t the fact he’s available confirmation they were right in the first place? Every time I see a Browns game, Collins either isn’t out there or looks like he’s browsing for paint.

Hello. Welcome to “My Thoughts When I Heard ‘Jamie Collins’ and ‘Patriots’ In the Same Sentence On Sunday.”

It was Jeff Howe of The Athletic that first mentioned the Patriots’ having internal discussions about re-signing their former second-round pick that they banished in 2016

Why would they do that?

Simple.

They are lacking speed and depth at linebacker having lost rookie Ja’Whaun Bentley for the season and now confronting the fact Dont'a Hightower’s knee is acting up.

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And – if Collins were to play like the Patriots thought he could when they drafted him and the Browns thought he could when they traded for him and then signed him to a four-year, $50 million deal at the start of the 2017 season – he would help.

What about the money? What about the backstory?

Turns out the money isn’t that much of an albatross. Say what you want about how financially stupid the Browns are, but they are savvy enough to currently have almost $60M in cap space right now and to have put a trap door into Collins’ contract.

When they gave Collins his contract in February of 2017, they gave him a deal with $26.4M guaranteed but paid him a big chunk of that up front in roster-bonus dough instead of signing bonus. That meant they weren’t paying on credit against the cap in future years so there’s minimal dead money hitting the cap now that he’s a confirmed bust.

Collins’ cap hit this year is $14.5M but it’s only $2.5M and $1.25M in dead money for the Browns in 2019 and 2020.

He would be a pricey add for the Patriots for the remainder of the year – and New England has very little room against the cap, but the Patriots wouldn’t be tethered to Collins past the end of this season either.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell talked about a possible Collins trade in early October and broached the possibility of the Browns making Collins more affordable by swallowing some of his salary before dealing him.

With the Browns cleaning house this week, Collins having been an acquisition by the old personnel regime – and an ineffective one at that – now is the time to get him out of there. The Browns have the cap space to fix the mistake now.

Do the Patriots have it in them to take on a player who disappointed them once, hasn’t played well since he’s been gone and will be heading toward free agency at the end of the year knowing he’s a diminished commodity?

That’s the question.

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Report: Dante Scarnecchia to help Patriots at NFL Combine despite retiring

Report: Dante Scarnecchia to help Patriots at NFL Combine despite retiring

Will Dante Scarnecchia ever truly "retire?"

The 72-year-old offensive line coach stepped away from the New England Patriots earlier this offseason, his second retirement since leaving the club in 2013 only to return in 2016.

But Scarnecchia still will be present at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine on behalf of the Patriots, NFL Media's Michael Giardi reported Monday.

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Scarnecchia joined several Patriots assistant coaches and staffers on a flight to Indianapolis on Monday, per Giardi.

As Giardi noted, Scarnecchia also did some scouting when he first retired from the Patriots in 2013. New England coaxed him back in 2016, and he helped the team win two Super Bowl titles over the next four years.

It's possible Scarnecchia really is retired this time. But considering he's worked with the Patriots for 34 years -- he joined the team as a special teams and tight ends coach in 1982 -- and has been coaching nearly ever year of his life since 1970, he may have a hard time going cold turkey.

New England still hasn't found a replacement for Scarnecchia, so Bill Belichick likely appreciates the legendary offensive line coach doing some pro bono work.

On-field workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium begin Thursday and continue through Sunday.

NFL Rumors: Patriots exploring trade for Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst

NFL Rumors: Patriots exploring trade for Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst

The New England Patriots desperately need tight end depth, and they may turn to an AFC rival to acquire it.

The Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars both are "exploring" a trade for Baltimore Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst ahead of the NFL Draft, the Florida Times-Union’s Eugene Frenette reported Monday.

Hurst, the No. 25 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, caught 30 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns last season in Baltimore, which are decent stats considering he competed with Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle for targets at a crowded position.

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The 26-year-old also is a strong athlete, spending two seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates' minor league organization out of high school before turning to football and attending South Carolina.

Hurst is under team control through 2021 and is set to make just over $3 million in 2020.

The Patriots have a wealth of 2020 draft picks in their arsenal, so a trade for Hurst certainly seems feasible if they don't covet any tight end prospects in the draft.

New England has incentive to get a deal done quickly, however, as Tom Brady becomes a free agent March 18.