In a 2015 regular-season contest against the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins delivered a block of an Adam Vinatieri extra point that would become a stalwart among the team’s historical highlight reel. The image of Collins athletically leaping over the Colts’ offensive line is one that is still fresh in the minds of Pats’ fans.
With the 2019 season on the horizon, supporters of the defending Super Bowl champions might get the chance to experience a little bit of history repeating.
On Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that Collins and the Patriots were in talks for the linebacker to rejoin the team. Jim McBride of The Boston Globe would later confirm that the team had indeed signed Collins; adding that he is expected to participate in on-field work on Thursday in Foxboro.
This will be Collins’ second tour of duty with the Patriots. He was drafted by New England in the second round (No. 52 overall) of the 2013 draft. During his first stint with the Pats, Collins tallied 206 solo tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 23 quarterback hits and 10.5 sacks across 50 games (41 starts).
In 2016, Collins was traded to the Cleveland Browns mid-season. He played in 30 games with the the team, posting 204 tackles and seven sacks. The 29 year-old was released by Cleveland on March 6. At that time, Rapoport reported that the team had tried to trade him but could not find any suitors.
While Collins’ talent is undeniable, he has struggled with questions surrounding his durability and consistency. The 2018 season marked the only time he had played in all 16 regular-season games for Cleveland. He had suffered a season-ending MCL injury in November 2017. During his time in both Cleveland, and New England, rustlings of inconsistent effort lurked beneath the surface. As a result, Collins found himself still unsigned heading into mid-May.
Despite these concerns, Collins is still one of the more dynamic talents in the league, when healthy and focused. He can still provide capable contributions as an off-ball starter, as well as explosiveness at the linebacker position on third down. The Patriots are undoubtedly hoping that Collins’ familiarity with their system will prove to be a smooth transition. Head coach Bill Belichick is expected to step into a de facto defensive coordinator position for the upcoming season. Collins should help to provide additional stability to the Patriots’ defense.
He joins former teammate Dont’a Hightower, Elandon Roberts, Kyle Van Noy, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Christian Sam, Terez Hall and Calvin Munson on the team’s linebacker depth chart.
Details of the contract are expected to be released in the coming days.
–Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and National Columnist for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the New England Patriots and provides NFL editorial content. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC