Jamie Collins now is a member of the Cleveland Browns; a fact that many players, coaches and fans are having a hard time dealing with. Except, of course, those in Cleveland.
The New England Patriots traded the Pro Bowl linebacker to the Browns for a compensatory draft pick Monday in somewhat of a head-scratching move. Cleveland isn’t complaining about its latest acquisition, though. Browns head coach Hue Jackson spoke with reporters shortly after the trade went down and gushed about his new linebacker.
“I think he’s a tremendous pass rusher,” Jackson said in a press conference. “He can play linebacker — I think there are several things he can do. He has a real versatile skill set, because he’s done both there at New England. So, we’ll definitely find ways to plug him in.”
If Collins is so effective, then why did the Patriots trade him? Former team executive Michael Lombardi was among those who suggested the 27-year-old “freelanced” too much on defense and wasn’t fitting in with head coach Bill Belichick’s system.
But apparently Jackson is just fine with letting Collins do whatever he wants.
“He can freelance for me, then,” Jackson said. “Hey, the way he freelances is OK with me.”
Jackson probably didn’t mean this as a dig at Belichick and the Patriots, but there’s a good chance he was as surprised as anyone to hear New England was willing to give up one of its best defensive players for a third-round draft pick.
Collins will become a free agent this offseason, but Jackson is hoping the fourth-year veteran will be in Cleveland for many seasons to come.
“We’d love to keep him, obviously,” Jackson said. “But it’s got to be mutual, and hopefully we can move in that direction.”
Thumbnail photo via Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images