The New Orleans Saints are reportedly planning on making a run at New England Patriots free agent linebacker Jamie Collins this month.
In case you hadn’t heard, Tom Brady isn’t the only marquee free agent the New England Patriots are trying to find a way to keep this month.
Linebacker Jamie Collins is one of 16 players who may find themselves available from New England’s roster. Other big names to keep an eye on over the next few weeks include safety Devin McCourty, guard Joe Thuney, and Collins’ fellow linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
But back to Collins.
The 30-year-old just posted a career year for himself at the perfect time. His seven sacks and three interceptions are both career highs, and he also returned one of those picks for a touchdown — his first score in the NFL. Collins was everything and more for the Patriots in 2019 — particularly during the first half of the season as New England’s defense carried them to an unblemished 8-0 record.
The only problem is now the cat’s out of the proverbial bag as far as Collins is concerned.
Every other team in the league saw how good he was his first three-and-a-half seasons in New England, hence his big payday in Cleveland with the Browns back in 2017. Then they saw how middling he was for two seasons as a Brown.
This is a league with a very short memory. No one remembered the raw athleticism and talent that Collins possess(ed) except Bill Belichick apparently, because it was the Patriots who came calling (literally) after Collins was cut by Cleveland a year ago tomorrow.
After reinventing himself with the Pats, now the league is once again on notice and interested in his services. And according to NBC Sports Boston’s Darren Hartwell, one such NFL team that seems particularly intrigued by Collins is the New Orleans Saints. Hartwell himself cites a report by The Athletic’s Stephen Holder.
Saints head coach Sean Payton has always had an affinity for talented players who just need the proper guidance to really come into their own. Collins seems like the perfect fit for him and for his defense, which quietly has become one of the better units in the NFL over the past four or five years.
The Patriots now stand a very real risk of losing two of their three starting linebackers from 2019, if this new report is to be believed. Kyle Van Noy is rumored to be an even hotter commodity in league circles than Collins, and he may very well end up being too expensive for the Patriots to re-sign.
For that matter, both of these talented linebackers might be too pricey for New England to match or beat another team’s offer — particularly given the need for the Patriots to re-sign Brady and surround him with help on offense (help that probably won’t come cheap).