The Patriots apparently saw a drop-off in Jamie Collins’ play, but another potential issue reportedly led New England to trade the Pro Bowl linebacker.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots shocked the football world last week, trading Collins to the Cleveland Browns for a compensatory third-round pick. The potential impact of the deal on the Patriots’ season will be debated for a long time, but New England reportedly felt that dealing Collins would be addition by subtraction.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the Patriots planned on reducing Collins’ role, shifting him to a “part-time” role moving forward. Collins’ struggles against the run reportedly led the team toward that decision, and ex-Patriots executive Michael Lombardi’s comments last week seemed to reinforce that notion.
Collins’ performance and usage in his last game with the Patriots, last week against the Buffalo Bills, also seemed to shed the same light. The Patriots, however, reportedly feared that reducing Collins’ playing time — he’ll be a free agent at the end of the season — might have a negative impact inside the locker room.
“Once the Patriots decided Collins wasn’t part of the team’s core defensive future, they viewed him as expendable,” an NFL.com story citing Rapoport’s report stated. “The Patriots ruled him out of possible franchise tag designation and the team feared he would cause issues within the locker room, Rapoport added.”
According to Rapoport, via the NFL.com story, “Collins grew increasingly frustrated with the team not valuing him and he was clashing with coaches.”
And more from Rapoport:
Collins made his Browns debut Sunday, making five tackles and assisting on three others. He did, however, appear to lose Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten in coverage, leading to a touchdown in the Browns’ 35-10 loss.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images