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The Detroit Lions are done with linebacker Jamie Collins.
The New England Patriots would benefit from adding him — again.
It’s funny how history has a habit of repeating itself in the NFL. Collins’ tenure with the Lions ran out on Tuesday, with Detroit releasing the linebacker after trying to trade him. He signed a three-year, $30-million deal with Detroit when Matt Patricia had been the Lions coach. With Dan Campbell taking over, Collins was apparently no longer a fit. That’s the second time that transition has landed Collins on the outs with a franchise. He spend three seasons with the Cleveland Browns before they parted ways with him in 2019. And once again, the Patriots stand to gain from Collins’ availability.
The team showed just how shallow they are on the inside on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, with practice squad linebacker Jahlani Tavai taking over for an injured Ja’Whaun Bentley during the second half. It was clear the team missed having Bentley in the middle of the defense, with the Saints leading a more successful rushing attack in the fourth quarter after Bentley’s injury. Runs from Saints skill player Taysom Hill ended up icing the game.
Essentially, the Patriots have nothing to lose by signing Collins, particularly if he’s willing to join New England on a veteran minimum contract. He has knowledge of their system, and would immediately be ready to contribute. They understand how to get the most out of him. And he would likely see the field early if injuries to Bentley and Josh Uche drag into this week when the defense looks undermanned against an elite Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense.
Collins is just the type of player the Patriots defense needs. It’s hard to imagine he will have much demand in free agency, so if he’s asking for a low-end deal, New England should absolutely add him.