Speaking for the first time since his team traded away linebacker Jamie Collins, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick offered the expected explanation for the surprising deal.

“In the end, we did what we felt was best for the football team,” Belichick said Monday on WEEI’s “Dale & Holley.” “There were a lot of things to take into consideration. I’m sure we could bring up a lot of things to talk about. But in the end, that’s really the bottom line.”

Earlier Monday, the Patriots traded Collins to the Cleveland Browns for a conditional third-round draft pick. Collins is set to hit free agency after this season, and Belichick was asked whether the team’s ability to re-sign him played into the decision to move him.

“I think you could bring up a lot of things, and they all probably play into the conversation at some point,” Belichick said.

The Patriots swung a trade last week for linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who could help fill the void left by Collins’ departure. They also have added Elandon Roberts, Shea McClellin and Barkevious Mingo over the past few months. Belichick said those moves were not related to Collins’ situation.

“I don’t think that’s really part of the decision,” the coach said. “It’ll be impacted by it, but I don’t think that’s really what it’s about. I think this is just the player, his situation, the team, the team’s situation and what’s best.”

Belichick said Monday morning in a conference call he was “disappointed” by the play of his linebackers during Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills. He reiterated in his WEEI interview there is room for improvement but noted the Patriots’ impressive record heading into their bye week.

“Look, we’re 7-1,” Belichick said. “There’s always things we can do better, (but) believe me, I’ve been a lot more frustrated than what our record is right now.”

The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET. Asked whether the Patriots plan to make any additional moves, Belichick replied: “If we have anything, we’ll let it go, but I don’t know. It’s hard to tell.”

Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images