Collins could be available immediately and brings a Versatile Skillset.
With the NFL Combine completed, we are now looking towards free agency as the legal tampering period opens up next week. The thing is, the National Football League never slows down and today news broke that a free agent linebacker is available immediately.
The #Browns have released high-priced LB Jamie Collins, who was due more than $10M this year. They tried to trade him, as they did at the deadline last year, and found no takers.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 6, 2019
While Collins never lived up to his 4-year $50 million deal with Cleveland, it’s not as if he’s a bad player. In 2018 he played every game for the Browns and finished with 104 tackles, 4 sacks a forced fumble and an interception.
Weight: 250 lbs
Experience: 7th year
Collins was a second round pick by the New England Patriots in the 2013 NFL Draft. In a surprising move, Bill Belichick traded him to the Browns for a conditional third round pick midway through the 2016 season.
Why this makes sense
Collins has a very versatile skillset. During his time in New England the Pats routinely used him as an interior blitzer to create pressure. He’s also been a strong coverage player over the years. As I mentioned for my GIF Horse study on Devin White, that versatility is something Fangio highly prizes. Barring a big second year jump from Josey Jewell, Collins would represent a significant upgrade next to Todd Davis.
Due to a bit of a disappointing stint in Cleveland, as well as his age, Collins is unlikely to cost near as much as someone like C.J. Mosely. That would leave additional cap space to find other free agent fits at cornerback, tight end, and nose tackle.
Why it doesn’t make sense
Collins doesn’t bring with him quite the injury history Jordan Hicks does, but has torn an MCL and had concussion concerns in the past. That combined with his age makes him a big scarier than someone like Mosley. As if the case for most ex-Patriots, he was never the same player in Cleveland that he was under Belichick.
I think Collin is worth consideration as a short term upgrade at the inside linebacker position. He fits what Fangio wants from his linebackers to a T and if he can stay healthy the Broncos new coach has a chance to help him recapture the level of play that made him one very best at his position to start his career. If Denver can find that player in Collins, they’d get a Mosely level player at the fraction of the cost.