I have a whole bunch of stuff I need to get to, but let’s address this trade fast, before it spoils.
1. Collins was a #2 pick in 2012. His rookie contract is expiring– one of a bunch. They decided to get what they could for him– and it turned out to be a #3 pick.
2. That isn’t a bad move on the trade ledger. Collins was a #2 pick by the Vikings (52nd overall), and he was traded with:
- A #3 pick in 2013 (which became CB Logan Ryan, who cracked New England’s starting lineup in 2015),
- A #4 in 2013 (WR Josh Boyce, another one of their busts on the position)
- A #7 in 2013 (which New England traded).
All that came in exchange for a a low #1 (it turned out to be 29th), in the historically-weak 2013 draft (that’s the one where Barkevious Mingo was picked sixth). The Vikings ended up with Cordarrelle Patterson, who hasn’t helped.
The best player the Patriots might have picked was C Travis Frederick (two Pro Bowls). Instead they got one from Collins, plus whatever Ryan (whom they want to re-sign) adds.
3. One detail in the trade makes things interesting. If the Patriots let Collins sign with another team at the end of the season, the NFL would have awarded them a compensation pick in the third round of the 2018 draft. The deal gives him one of the Browns compensation picks for 2017– at the end of this year.
Is Bill Belicheat making the trade because Tom Brady is getting old and he wants the pick ASAP? Or did he do it because he thinks the 2017 draft is super-great– or maybe the 2018 draft isn’t?
Your guess is as good as mine
4. As to why the Patriots are trading Collins, that’s pretty easy. They manage salaries aggressively. They want good players at every position– not stars at some spots and journeymen at others.
If you’re going to play for them, then you then you must agree to take less than the market will bear… to say nothing of the wads of cash a really bad team will throw at you.
5. Some agents try to put a player on a team where (a) he’ll make good money, (b) he’ll play for a coach he can get along with in a scheme that suits him, (c) on a team where he can have winning seasons and make the playoffs and (d) his issues won’t drag him down.
Collins’s agent is Bus Cook, whose clients included Calvin Johnson, Randy Moss, Adalius Thomas, Jay Cutler, Cam Newton and Steve McNair. As you can tell by that client list, he isn’t one of those guys.
You know about Moss and Cutler. Johnson stayed with a dreadful Lions team– McNair stayed with a coach who got him beat to hell (Jeff Fisher). They got money, but didn’t have the accomplishments lesser players did.
Thomas was a linebacker in the Paul Kruger mode– went for the big payday, didn’t like the new team or the coach (New England) and was out of the league after three years.
And Can Newton is Cam Newton.
6. A couple of reports say that Collins, after he turned down New England’s offer, began ignoring his defensive assignment. He was going for the big plays– sacks, stuffs, interceptions, knockdowns, fumbles– rather than the boring stuff that helps you win.
That’s why, according to some sources, New England traded him? Why keep a short-timer who is also a cancer?
As for the Browns:
1. The one piece of positive news is that it will be easy to retain Collins. Just back up the truck– pay him 30% more than the best contract any linebacker got last off-season– and guarantee at least half of it,
2. Of course, if the Browns wanted to do that, they could have done it at the end of the season, once he hit the market. All this deal does is give then the ability to negotiate with Collins for the next three months. That’s pretty low value for a #3 pick.
3. This is really just Return of the Son of Paul Kruger: really bad team pays a fortune to get a player who won’t look nearly as good with weaker players around him.
4. This deal illustrates something I said in the season preview: Whatever the Marx Brothers say, Hue Jackson is running the show. Jimmy Haslam told him that Browns wanted to try things a new way– but if Jackson felt he needed something, Jimmy would make sure he had it.
In the Jets preview, I repeated a comment from a writer who covered the 2010 Raiders, He warned that Jackson had no intention of losing for 2-3 year. Marvin Lewis took over the Bengals after a 2-14 year; they went 8-8 in his first season.
Jackson expected to do the same thing. Now he’s freaking out.
I don’t have a lot of respect for Sasho Marx or Paulo– but this is not the kind of move that an analytics-worshipping team makes. This is the sort of deal a Coach-GM with no patience pulls off after they lose another game to fall to 0-8.
5. As for the likelihood this will work out: Cleveland made a deal with New England.
Mary Kay Greenhouse will report it is a great deal (the “NFL Sources” she will be quoting are Bus Cook and Hue Jackson), but nobody else will.
6. Can Collins be a leader to the young players? He’s being thrown off the team because he didn’t want to follow assignments. You tell me.