UPDATE: According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, Collins rejected an offer for $11-million per year from the Patriots, which ultimately caused the trade.
The New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns have agreed to a deal for Pro Bowl linebacker Jamie Collins. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Browns will send New England a compensatory third-round pick for the young linebacker.
In a corresponding roster move, the Browns have elected to waive tight end Connor Hamlett.
Collins, a former second-round pick out of Southern Miss, has become an excellent player for the Patriots over the past few seasons and has emerged into one of the best young linebackers in the game. In 2014, his breakout season, Collins finished with 116 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions and four forced fumbles while starting 15 games for the Super Bowl winning Patriots that year.
His strong play continued in 2015, as he finished with 89 tackles and a career-high 5.5 sacks. As a result, he was named to the Pro Bowl last year and was an AP All-Pro second team selection at outside linebacker.
He was also off to another strong start in 2016, recording 43 tackles, one sack and two interceptions for the Patriots before being traded away. So the fact that New England would give up on such a promising player in exchange for a third-round draft pick is a bit perplexing.
For the Browns, the trade adds some much-needed talent to a struggling Cleveland defensive unit. Through eight games this year, the Browns have given up the most yards per game (421.5), the most points (238) and they’ve given up the second highest yards-per-play average (6.4), with only the Oakland Raiders worse (6.5). So they can certainly use the talented linebacker.