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Ask PFW: Collins trade reaction

Fans' questions answered in our weekly PFW mailbag.

Still shocked about the Jamie Collins trade! Really cannot see the benefit here. Just keep him to have a better chance at the Super Bowl this year and let him walk in Free Agency and collect the compensatory pick! When I first saw it, it came to my mind that Bill Belichick sees a new contract to Marty Bennett as more important to what he thought, when they traded for him. On the other hand, I was pretty sure, they are in some trade-talks for a good starter for the trade-deadline. Any idea? Thanks from a shocked Pats fan from Germany.Chris Hauenschild

Do you think that trading Collins is consistent with BB drafting "yes, sir" players over talented ones and in this case dumping one? Brian Lyubomoff

If it's true that Collins was doing "whatever he wanted" and "did not play well" then trading him makes sense, but only for a third-round pick?! He was perceived as a star LB in the league and BB could not get more value out of the trade?Stan Cohan

I'm sure you are inundated with questions about the Jamie Collins trade, and by the time you answer them on Tuesday I'll probably know how I feel. At the moment, just as I was with Chandler Jones, Richard Seymour, Logan Mankins, Deion Branch etc., I am in one of those 'In Bill We Trust' mindsets, extremely puzzled about why a player with Collins' upside was treated for a compensatory pick which the Patriots would likely have received anyway, albeit a year later, but somehow slightly calmed by the knowledge there is possibly more to the story than we've been told.

Is there likely to be something of the Dominique Easley release about this stunning trade (either being inconsistent on the field, such as 'freelancing', being poor against the run and bad against tight ends such as Owen Daniels) and/or not following 'The Patriot Way' in the locker room and talking about money and frustrations with contract negotiations?

It looked like Collins lost his place on first and second downs to rookie Elandon Roberts against Buffalo in a run-first offense and [New England] had already brought in Kyle Van Noy, presumably as depth behind Barkevious Mingo and Shea McClellin, but none of those have Collins' versatility or upside. What have you heard which will make me feel better about the trade? David Beckett

There certainly has been a lot of varying reaction – all of it passionate – about this latest move by New England. David probably hit the nail on the head in the last question. While many people are speculating and gossiping about what may or may not be the reasons for this trade, it's unlikely we'll ever know exactly what those reasons were. There's more to it, I'm sure, than the Patriots simply wanting to unload Collins for a draft choice. It wasn't long ago that Belichick was enamored of Collins' skills, saying players like him "don't grow on trees."

There has to be more to the story. Did Collins, whose contract expires at the end of this season, want too much money? A distinct possibility. Was he recently not performing on the field to the level at which he was expected? Perhaps. Had a pattern of off-field behavior developed, or maybe an isolated, yet unforgivable incident taken place, that the Patriots deemed unacceptable, even by a player of Collins' caliber? Again, these are all pertinent questions to which we have no solid answers at the moment, and may never. Erik Scalavino


Hey guys! My question is why didn't the Pats trade Collins for say, Joe Haden or Joe Thomas, instead of just settling for a third round pick? I understand that the Browns have repeatedly stated that they wouldn't trade either of them, but I feel as if they could have made an enticing offer with Collins and maybe some draft picks. I feel as if the Pats LB corps can take the hit, but in my opinion, the Pats need help at tackle and corner, which they could've potentially filled with this trade. Liam Sullivan

"Who can stop the Patriots?" Answer: BB. He would trade away his top defensive talent for a third-rounder while trading away a boat-load of picks for special teamers who cannot even chase a punter making a first down. Jay Wozniaki

The Collins trade does not make sense.  A second round pick I get, not a third round pick.  We would have got a third round compensatory pick (very likely) if we did not want him  and let him go through free agency,  so we lost eight games of his service, plus the playoffs, for basically nothing. Nader Behbehani

Hey there! A big fan from Denmark. Thanks for your great work, which is really helping me to better understand the Patriots and NFL in general. So, the news broke that we are trading Jamie Collins to the Browns! I really love him as a player, but assuming that Bill Belichick of course has his reasons (injuries, too big of a contract on the horizon, not playing as well as I think?), I'm just as shocked by the fact that we are only receiving a third round pick in return.

It seems like a very low value given he was selected in the second round to begin with. Also wouldn't we get almost as high a pick as a compensatory selection if we lost him via free agency? Maybe this is just a brilliant gamble that he will play horribly in Cleveland and the return on a much cheaper contract in free agency. Thanks for all your great work!!! Lukas Folting

You can question Bill Belichick's motives and decisions all day if you like. He's not immune from scrutiny or criticism, nor should he be, even after all he's done for the Patriots franchise. It comes with the territory. And as professional analysts, that's what we in the media are paid to do.

One thing you can't call Belichick, however, is a fool when it comes to football. If Belichick and his front office team simply wanted to improve their roster, dealing away a talent like Collins for something as seemingly insignificant as a third-round draft choice is obviously not a fair value-for-value swap. Collins is less than a year removed from his first Pro Bowl honor, and while he may not have been playing consistently up to that elite standard in the first half of this season, he's still (or was) clearly one of the most talented players on this Patriots defense and even in the league.

So, why would the team be willing to unload him for a third-round pick and nothing more? Again, there must be more about the situation that we don't know. My instincts tell me there had to have been some sort of chasm that formed between Collins and the team. When it became obvious to Belichick et al that this gap was too far to bridge, they decided to move on and take whatever they could reasonably get in return.

To put it in perspective, Chandler Jones, a former first-round pick, was traded this past offseason for a second-round choice – one round below where he was drafted – and an underachieving player (Jonathan Cooper) who was essentially thrown in by Arizona and never really made an impact here in Foxborough. Jones, in effect, was traded for a draft choice after his best season in the NFL.

It seems history has repeated itself with the Collins trade, except this time, no castoff player was included in the deal. Just the draft pick, which is one round below where Collins was selected by the Patriots in 2013.

Yes, the Patriots could have kept Collins till year's end, let him walk in free agency, and gotten, in all likelihood, a third-round compensatory pick… in 2018 (remember, those picks are assigned a year after the player leaves town). For New England to opt to ship Collins out now and get that compensation a year earlier from Cleveland means to me that the relationship between the club and player – one Belichick recently said he was lucky to have on his team – had deteriorated beyond repair. Erik Scalavino

With the unexpected trade of Collins, who do you think will step up in the linebacker group? Florian Durieux

Does the Collins trade perhaps mean that BB has some faith that new signings [Barkevious] Mingo and [Kyle] Van Noy can step up and fill in next year and shore up a pretty barren linebacker core? Also do you think the trade means that we could see the return of perhaps [Maretllus] Bennett or [Logan] Ryan next year as well as [Dont'a] Hightower and [Malcolm] Butler?Sam Smith

Any chance that the Collins trade leads to an extension of someone unexpected, possibly an early Malcolm Brown extension?  Thanks for all the great work.Scott Macone

I would expect that Mingo, Van Noy, and rookie Elandon Roberts will see more action now that Collins is out of the picture. The first two appear to be better suited for edge pass rushing situations, though, where Collins was more of an inside linebacker. Roberts has seen his playing time increase in recent weeks, even before the big trade, but at his relatively small size for the position, it remains to be seen how long he can withstand the punishment that comes with the job.

Finances, I'm sure, had to play a role in the decision to trade Collins. Now that he's gone, that would seem to leave more money for the Patriots to allocate to other players, some of whom have already been mentioned. It's possible we could see an extension for a player or two before the season ends, maybe even a player we didn't expect to get one (as often happens with this team), but my guess is the club will let the rest of the season unfold before committing any significant dollars to anyone. Erik Scalavino

I have only had two Patriots jerseys in my life, and as a linebacker fan, those jerseys were Bruschi's and Mayo's. As you can probably guess, they are a bit worn out now. I have been waiting to see who in the current linebacking core would be resigned. Do you suppose it's safe to buy a Dont'a Hightower jersey now? Nathan Ellsworth

To be safe, Nathan, I'd wait and see before investing in anyone's jersey other than Tom Brady's or Rob Gronkowski's. Erik Scalavino

Hey guys, loving how this season is unfolding. Simple question: Brady has been the best QB by far across the league since returning from suspension. If he continues to play at this level, do you think he will be league MVP or would the four-game suspension prevent people voting for him? Cheers! Rob Masters

Yes, he's eligible for it, and Brady is definitely a candidate for NFL MVP at the midway point of the season. If he continues on this torrid pace, it'll be impossible not to give him the award. Erik Scalavino

Hey fellas, I've been a Boston sports fan all my life (I'm 47). I've been thinking, is Tom Brady the biggest Boston sports icon ever? I still lean towards Bill Russell and Ted Williams, yet it's so hard to argue against TB12. What do you guys think? I'm just trying to enjoy it all while we have it. Or could it be Belichick? Andy Gibbs

Wow, I thought this was an easy question – I say, yes, Brady is – but when I brought this up in the office, I got considerable pushback. Some people thought Big Papi, others Larry Bird. Turned into a lively discussion. There's no definitive answer, obviously, because it's all subject, but to me, Brady is it. Erik Scalavino

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