The Patriots made a low-risk move over the offseason when they brought Jamie Collins back for a second stint in New England.
So far, the transaction has produced an awfully high reward.
Collins has been one of the Patriots’ top defensive players through three games. The veteran linebacker has racked up 19 total tackles, 2 1/2 sacks, two interceptions and a touchdown heading into Week 4. Considering he’s on pace for a Pro Bowl campaign, it’s crazy to think the Collins signing largely flew under the radar amid New England’s active offseason.
Chris Wesseling listed the top 10 of these “afterthought acquisitions” in a recent column for NFL.com, with Collings coming in at No. 2.
“Following Patrick Chung’s footsteps in New England’s Prodigal Son career path, Collins came crawling back to the Patriots’ fold on a bargain-basement contract that contains just $250,000 in guarantees,” Wesseling wrote. “One of only three versatile defenders league-wide aligning as interior linemen, edge defenders and inside linebacker on at least 15 percent of their snaps (teammate Dont’a Hightower and Detroit rookie Jahlani Tavai are the others, per Next Gen Stats), Collins finds himself spearheading a dominant, veteran-laden Patriots defense that has a chance to become the first since the 1934 Lions to open the season without allowing an offensive touchdown in four straight games. Pro Football Focus’ top-graded linebacker, Collins is the only NFL player to generate two sacks and two interceptions this September. As if those feats aren’t impressive enough, he also owns the league’s highest stop rate (13.3), an advanced metric that tracks how many times a tackle constitutes a failed play for the offense. If Barrett is the surprise favorite for NFC Defensive Player of the Month honors, Collins is the AFC’s equivalent.”
The Patriots will need Collins to be at his best this Sunday when they visit the Buffalo Bills. After squaring off against the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets’ anemic offenses, New England will face a much stiffer challenge against Josh Allen and Co. Allen is just as dangerous with his legs as he is with his arm, so Collins’ high-end versatility will be of great importance at New Era Field.