The NFL rumor mill keeps chugging along deep into the offseason, often producing speculative stories about possible player destinations.
We’ve all seen this headline: Could Team X be interested in a reunion with Player Y?
These scenarios are fun to discuss. But rarely do they come to fruition.
The Patriots appear to be on the verge of making an exception.
The club has engaged in discussions with free-agent linebacker Jamie Collins regarding a potential return, according to Ian Rapoport of The NFL Network.
Rapoport added that the Pats are “likely” to sign Collins.
This move would have been viewed as far-fetched a few years ago. Coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2015, Collins was abruptly traded to Cleveland at the deadline the following October. He was in the final year of his contract, and had underperformed to that point in the 2016 season. Shortly after the trade, Collins’ agent, Bus Cook, told Bleacher Report that the two sides “never got into any real serious discussions” about a contract extension.
The trade of Collins was controversial at the time, but the 2016 Patriots defense came together down the stretch and ending up winning the Super Bowl.
Collins inked a four-year extension worth $50 million with the Browns as the Pats made their playoff run.
The ultra-athletic linebacker lasted through two years of the contract, and Cleveland released him in March.
Collins, 29, has remained unsigned ever since.
Given the Patriots’ depth at linebacker, it’s unclear how Collins would fit. Dont’a Hightower excelled down the stretch of the 2018 season and dominated in Super Bowl LIII. Kyle Van Noy is coming off the best year of his career. Second-year pro Ja’Whaun Bentley showed plenty of promise — and was essentially a starter — before going down with a season-ending biceps injury in Week 3. And Elandon Roberts has made strides in each of his three NFL seasons.
Collins, who registered 104 tackles and four sacks this past season in Cleveland, possesses the athleticism to perform multiple duties. In his first stint with the Patriots, which lasted from 2013-16, Collins was equally adept at blitzing or dropping into coverage.
New Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo played with Collins for three seasons.
Source:: Boston Herald