One of the biggest pieces of news this week was that the Detriot Lions are shopping veteran linebacker Jamie Collins. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Detriot has been “fielding calls” for Collins. Chris Burke of The Athletic confirmed that the Collins was not in the building and that “the Lions are exploring a change”. The belief is that Detriot wants to move 2021 fourth-round pick Derrick Barnes into a more prominent role. The former Purdue linebacker was a popular Day 3 pick this past draft. In two games Barnes has only played five defensive snaps and has two tackles.
Collins was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. During his time with them, he was a part of the Super Bowl-winning team that beat Seattle in 2014-15. He was also a Pro Bowler and named Second Team All-Pro the following season. After stints with the Cleveland Browns and returning to New England in 2019, Collins signed a three-year $30 million deal with the Detriot Lions. This deal reunited him with former New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. Last season Collins had 101 combined tackles, a sack, and an interception in Detriot. This season Collins has 10 combined tackles in two games.
Now that there is a new regime in Detroit, they want to play their players instead of veterans who were brought in by the previous regime. If moved Collins would join the list of Matthew Stafford, Kerryon Johnson, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., Danny Amendola, Danny Shelton, Everson Griffen, Desmond Trufant, and Jarrad Davis as notable veterans to leave Detriot this past year.
There are plenty of teams who can use a do-it-all linebacker like Collins on their roster. He may not be the Pro Bowl-caliber player he was six seasons ago but he is way above average at defending against the run, covering in the middle of the field, and getting after the quarterback. Here are the teams who could be interested in trading for Jamie Collins.
Baltimore Ravens receive: Jamie Collins
Detriot Lions receive: 2023 Fifth Round Pick
No team has dealt with more injuries this season than the Baltimore Ravens. The once thought Super Bowl contender feels like they may have to fight to get into the playoffs this season. One of the most underappreciated losses on this roster was starting inside linebacker L.J. Fort who tore his ACL in the preseason. He has been replaced by 2020 third-round pick Malik Harrison in the depth chart. Early in the season the former Ohio State linebacker, who was a sleeper prospect because of his athleticism, has not played great this season. PFF has given Harrison a 37.4 grade on the season so far.
At this point of his career, Collins is what the Ravens hope Harrison could become. He would give Baltimore an extremely athletic inside linebacker duo patrolling the middle of the field. He would be a great veteran addition to one of the best defenses and overall teams in the league.
Miami Dolphins receive: Jamie Collins & 2022 Compensatory Fifth Round Pick
Detriot Lions receive: Noah Igbinoghene & 2022 Sixth Round Pick (via New England Patriots)
The Miami Dolphins appear to have a linebacker by committee approach on defense. Outside of Jerome Baker who has played nearly every defensive snap for Miami so far, they have rotated between Andrew Van Ginkel, Elandon Roberts, Brennan Scarlett, Sam Eguavoen, and 2021 first-round pick Jaelan Phillips on defense. Before the season started Miami shockingly cut former Second-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl linebacker Benardick McKinney. Miami acquired McKinney in a deal that sent pass-rusher Shaq Lawson to Houston.
Miami could explore the possibility of adding Collins to that rotation of linebackers. Collins should already be familiar with the defensive scheme since he has played for Dolphins head coach Brian Flores before during his time in New England. He fits the mold of linebacker that Flores likes in his defense. Flores likes versatile linebackers who are capable of lining up inside and also rushing the passer as an outside linebacker. That describes exactly what Collins has done throughout his career.
On the other side, Detriot could possibly try to pry 2020 first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene away from Miami. Over the first two games of the season, the former 30th overall pick has been a healthy scratch. The Dolphins appear to have both Justin Coleman and Nik Needham ahead of him on the depth chart in the nickel. Making a healthy scratch doesn’t bode well for how they feel about him long-term. The Lions could possibly look at Igbinoghene as a low-risk high-reward reclamation project. He would get a lot of playing time with the Lions right now since both of their starting cornerbacks Jeff Okudah and Ifeatu Melifonwu are on IR right now.
Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams receive: Jamie Collins
Detriot Lions receive: Two 2022 Compensatory Sixth Round Picks
The Detriot Lions and Los Angeles Rams have a lot of history together in the short time since Detriot’s new regime has taken over. Detriot hired Brad Holmes to take over as their general manager this past offseason. Before this season Holmes spent the last eight seasons as the Director of College Scouting for the Rams. His first transaction as general manager was with a trade with the Rams. Detriot traded Matthew Stafford to Los Angeles for Jared Goff and two first-round picks.
As talented as Los Angeles’ defense is they easily have one of if not the worst group of linebackers in the NFL. Outside of Leonard Floyd, the average NFL fan does not know any of the Rams’ starting linebackers. They are great enough with the unit they have. But an addition to that unit like Collins would be a major upgrade over what they have. Opposite Floyd, the Rams start Justin Rollins who has been a solid contributor to this defense with already two sacks on the season. In the middle of the field, the Rams start Kenny Young, who was acquired in the Marcus Peters trade, and Troy Reeder. Los Angeles also drafted South Carolina linebacker Ernest Jones in the third round.
Collins could be a swiss army knife linebacker for this defense that rotates in as an inside linebacker on early downs then rushes the passer from the outside on third downs. Los Angeles used to have a player like that named Samson Ebukam. However, Ebukham left Los Angeles this past offseason in free agency to sign with the division rival San Fransisco 49ers. Los Angeles hasn’t been a stranger to making trades to acquire veterans to improve the overall depth of this roster. Acquiring a veteran like Collins would be a great addition to this already loaded defense.
New York Giants
New York Giants receive: Jamie Collins & 2022 Seventh Round Pick (via New England Patriots)
Detriot Lions receive: 2022 Fifth Round pick (via Kansas City Chiefs)
The New York Giants have started the season 0-2 but they are not out of the playoff hunt yet because it is still anyone’s division in the NFC East. New York could explore how to make this team better. Their biggest need is upfront on the offensive line. While their strength of this team is their defense. The Giants would win this division behind elite play from their defense and solid offensive production with a lot fewer turnovers than they are accustomed to in years past.
One unit where the Giants could look to improve is linebacker. They currently have 2020 seventh-round pick Tae Crowder starting next to Blake Martinez. He has not played great this season so far. Crowder has a 42.9 PFF grade so far this season. New York could explore replacing Crowder with Jamie Collins. It is hard to imagine them not being interested in adding the veteran linebacker.
General manager David Gettleman loves adding linebackers to his teams. Also, head coach Joe Judge is a previous member of the New England Patriots coaching staff and should have some type of relationship with Collins. On top of that defensive coordinator, Patrick Graham was Collins’ linebacker coach during his All-Pro season in 2015. Collins could play primarily on the inside next to Blake Martinez. He is much better than Martinez at coverage. On top of that, the Giants could dial up some linebacker blitzes sending Collins along with their front four to get after the quarterback on passing downs.
Philadelphia Eagles: Jamie Collins
Detriot Lions: 2022 Fifth Round Pick
No team in the NFL has neglected the linebacker position over the last couple of seasons like the Philadelphia Eagles. They refuse to use any premium assets at the position and also don’t sign any high-profile linebackers either. Their starting linebackers are Genard Avery, Eric Wilson, and Alex Singleton. Philadelphia could use a major upgrade at linebacker.
Jamie Collins could step in and be a veteran presence on this defense that they lack now that Brandon Graham is now out for the season. He could also play all three linebacker roles. So Philadelphia could acquire Collins and figure out whether his best fit is on the inside or outside in their 4-3 defense. The Eagles wouldn’t have to invest major draft capital in order to acquire Collins. But acquiring a player like this could push Philadelphia closer to the NFC East crown.
New England Patriots
New England Patriots: Jamie Collins
Detriot Lions: N’Keal Harry & 2023 Seventh Round Pick
This list wouldn’t be legit without adding the New England Patriots. Collins has two separate stints with the Patriots where he was an extremely impactful player for them. New England has a great front seven and group of linebackers. They don’t need a player like Collins. The Patriots already have Matthew Judon, Donta Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Ja’Wuan Bentley, Josh Uche, and 2021 third-round pick Ronnie Perkins. They have more than enough depth at both the inside and outside linebacker positions. But New England is no stranger to bringing back their own. Bill Belichick brought Collins back to New England after he was cut by Cleveland in 2019.
The destination where Collins could be at his best in New England and the Patriots know that. For the right price, they could be talked into having him return to the team for the third time. Adding another playmaker line Collins would only make them better. They would likely be more comfortable bringing him back if Detriot cut him instead of trading for him and his contract. The only question is how many snaps would Collins see with all the depth New England has at linebacker already.
Detriot could explore trading Collins to New England and try to bring back 2019 first-round pick N’Keal Harry in return. It is no secret that Detriot does not have the strongest group of wide receivers. However, through the first two weeks, this offense has done well. T.J. Hockenson has been Jared Goff’s number one target. Both D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams are very involved in the passing game. Also even though they brought in veteran Tyrell Williams in the offseason, second-year receiver Quintez Cephus appears to be emerging as Detriot’s number one wide receiver.
But it couldn’t hurt to add Harry to their offense. He would start off as the fourth or fifth receiver on the depth chart and would rotate with both Cephus and Williams who are the outside receivers. In a new location, Harry could show why he was a first-round pick two years ago. He could be a low-risk add for this offense that could end up being a vital piece to Detriot offense down the road.