Less than three years after acquiring him in a trade with the New England Patriots and two years after signing him to a massive four-year, $50 million contract, the Cleveland Browns have released linebacker Jamie Collins.

Collins started all 16 games with the Browns in 2018, piling up 104 tackles with four sacks, four passes defended, an interception and a forced fumble. He played six games in 2017, missing 10 games with a concussion and torn MCL.

The Patriots reportedly showed interest in trading for Collins at last year’s trade deadline. New England drafted Collins in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft and traded him during the 2016 trade deadline for a third-round pick.

Collins was Pro Football Focus’ 58th-ranked linebacker during the 2018 season, receiving a 62.3 grade.

Collins was a playmaker in his time with the Patriots. While the Patriots appear set at linebacker next season with Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Ja’Whaun Bentley and Elandon Roberts, perhaps Collins could fill the situational pass rusher role they envisioned for him during the 2016 season.

Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers is hitting free agency next week. The Patriots have over $24 million in cap space and could free up more spending money by extending quarterback Tom Brady or cutting defensive end Adrian Clayborn.

Collins immediately becomes a free agent. Because he was released, he wouldn’t count in the 2020 compensatory draft formula.

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