While the rest of the world tries to make sense of the Jamie Collins trade, one man sees things as clear-cut.
Michael Lombardi, who was an assistant to the New England Patriots’ coaching staff from 2014 to 2016 and is a close confidant of Bill Belichick, spoke out on several platforms Monday after his former employer shockingly traded Collins to the Cleveland Browns for a compensatory third-round draft pick. Lombardi insisted he wasn’t surprised by the move, claiming Collins had been freelancing and wasn’t playing up to standards.
In an interview with WEEI’s “Kirk & Callahan” on Tuesday morning, Lombardi doubled down on that opinion.
“Watch the tape. Jamie has not played particularly well,” Lombardi said, via WEEI.com. “Sometimes freelancing is a problem, and I think sometimes effort is a problem.”
One theory for the move is that the Patriots and Collins, who will become a free agent this offseason, couldn’t come to terms on a new contract: New England reportedly offered him $11 million per year, but the Pro Bowl linebacker allegedly wanted “Von Miller money.” Lombardi refuted that theory outright.
“I don’t think that’s accurate. In fact, I know that’s not accurate,” Lombardi said.
“It’s not about his contract. Let’s forget that,” he added. “Because if he was playing at a Pro Bowl level, as you believe he’s playing, they would keep him and use him. But if he’s playing at the level I’ve watched on tape, there is really nothing you can do. You’re better off trying to cut your losses and get something for him. It’s nothing about the extension.”
In Lombardi’s eyes, the bottom line was that Collins wasn’t getting the job done for Belichick.
“Through eight games as a Patriot this season, he had not been playing at a level that’s acceptable to winning and beating good teams,” Lombardi said. “The conversation we’re having isn’t about beating Landry Jones and the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s about beating Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers in a championship game.”
“Who is doing the grading? Evaluate the evaluator,” he said. “I would rather go with Bill Belichick’s evaluation than Pro Football Focus.”
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images