In what’s otherwise a competitive NFC North, the Detroit Lions are clearly in Year 1 of a long-term rebuilding plan. General manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell are just beginning to establish the culture they hope will propel them forward.
Part of the process includes letting go of players that are considered holdovers from the previous regime. One such player who appears to be on his way out is linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. Per Adam Schefter, the Lions are currently fielding trade calls on the 31-year-old playmaker.
Collins signed a three-year, $30 million deal with the Lions in March of 2020. He was, at the time, reunited with head coach Matt Patricia, who served as Collins’ defensive coordinator in New England for a number of years.
With Patricia’s era as Detroit’s head coach now nothing but a haunting memory, the Lions appear set to go younger at the position. It makes sense for a team that is several years away from being a contender, and that’s if the initial rebuilding plan is successful.
A trade for Collins appears imminent, with the player not even reporting to the building for practice on Wednesday. Here are three teams that could be the first to inquire about Collins’ availability.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
*Insert Bill Belichick binoculars gif here*
Would they really consider it? We wouldn’t put anything past Belichick and his brilliant mind. Coaches love working with players they’re familiar with, and a trade to New England would place Collins in the Patriots’ grasp for the third time in his 10-year career.
It was no surprise to see Belichick allow Collins to walk in free agency a year ago. Belichick is well known for being frugal in free agency and was never going to pay an at-the-time-30-year-old linebacker $10 million annually.
But now that Collins could be available on the cheap, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Belichick dip his toes into the water once again. If Detroit is willing to pay Collins’ signing bonus and reduce his base salary in order to rid themselves of the headache they’ve created, Belichick could pounce on the opportunity to reunite with Collins.
This is a bad, bad defense.
Through two weeks (and two losses), the Falcons have allowed an astonishing 80 points and 775 total yards of offense. Head coach Arthur Smith needs to figure things out fast before this snowballs into more embarrassing Sunday afternoons.
Smith’s defensive coordinator is Dean Pees, who spent six seasons working under the tutelage of Belichick, first as a linebackers coach and later as the defensive coordinator. Pees never coached Collins in New England but is awfully familiar with the player and the system Collins has proven to thrive in.
This destination makes a lot of sense on the surface.
The Dolphins have gotten some terrible linebacker play through the first two weeks of the season. Jerome Baker currently owns an overall grade of 39.5 (yikes) and Elandon Roberts hasn’t fared much better, scoring a 52.9, per Pro Football Focus.
The Dolphins need to do *something* to upgrade their linebacker play. Head coach Brian Flores served as Collins’ linebacker coach in 2016 before Collins was traded to the Cleveland Browns midway through the season. Furthermore, Flores was on the Patriots’ defensive coaching staff for Collins' first three seasons in Foxboro.
The Dolphins are a young team but have enough pieces in place to make a playoff run in 2021. Acquiring Collins would give them a better chance of achieving their immediate goals.
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