Pats trade Pro Bowl line­backer to Browns

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Brian Dulik

Cleve­land ac­quired Pro Bowl line­backer Jamie Collins from the Pa­tri­ots in ex­change for a con­di­tional third-round draft choice, bol­ster­ing a de­fense that has al­lowed the most yards in the league.

BEREA, OHIO >> The win­less Cleve­land Browns were per­ceived to be sell­ers, not buy­ers, on the eve of the NFL’s trade dead­line. They proved that the­ory wrong Mon­day.

Cleve­land ac­quired Pro Bowl line­backer Jamie Collins from the Pa­tri­ots in ex­change for a con­di­tional third-round draft choice, bol­ster­ing a de­fense that has al­lowed the most yards in the league.

“We traded for a great player, and that says a lot about our front of­fice,” Browns wide re­ceiver Ter­relle Pryor said. “When I heard we got Jamie Collins, I was so ex­cited and so ec­static. His ath­leti­cism and ver­sa­til­ity are tremen­dous, and he’s ex­pe­ri­enced.

“We got bet­ter to­day. The fu­ture ain’t what it used to be.”

The 6-foot-3, 250-pounder was a sec­ond-round se­lec­tion by New Eng­land in 2013. He is earn­ing $485,928 in the fi­nal year of his rookie con­tract, but ne­go­ti­a­tions for a new pact had stalled.

Collins led the Pa­tri­ots in tack­les in each of the last two sea­sons, start­ing ev­ery de­fen­sive snap in their Su­per Bowl 49 vic­tory. He has 285 tack­les, 10 ½ sacks and five in­ter­cep­tions in 50 ca­reer games, mak­ing him Cleve­land’s most ac­com­plished line­backer.

Pryor and Collins, both 27-year-old pend­ing un­re­stricted free agents, will re­ceive huge raises if they hit the open mar­ket, but the Browns have the abil­ity to pre­vent that with their NFLhigh $47.6 mil­lion in salary cap room. They are only per­mit­ted to use the fran­chise tag on one player.

“I don’t think we want to try Collins out, I think we would love to keep him,” Cleve­land coach Hue Jack­son said. “We know what he is, we know what he brings to the table, and I don’t think we would have done this if we didn’t think there was an op­por­tu­nity to move for­ward with him.”

Collins is ex­pected to join the team Tues­day, the league’s trade dead­line. New Eng­land could wind up with a 2017 third-rounder or a 2018 fourth-round choice in the deal, de­pend­ing on if he re-signs with the Browns.

Nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas and twotime for­mer Pro Bowl cor­ner­back Joe Haden have been men­tioned as pos­si­ble trade bait by Cleve­land, but nei­ther player said they ex­pect to be dealt.

Collins has 43 tack­les, two in­ter­cep­tions and one sack in seven games this sea­son, sit­ting out one con­test with a hip in­jury. The South­ern Mis­sis­sippi prod­uct was an As­so­ci­ated Press sec­ond team All-Pro in 2015, when he was cho­sen for his first Pro Bowl.

Jack­son said he was un­cer­tain if Collins will play in­side or out­side line­backer Sun­day, when the Browns host Dal­las.

“This young man, I think he gets it, so there are sev­eral things he can do,” said Jack­son, whose squad is 0-8. “Let’s get him here and we’ll see where his com­fort level is and what is most im­por­tant to him. We will def­i­nitely find ways to plug him in and have him be a con­tribut­ing mem­ber of our de­fense.”

On Aug. 25, the Browns traded line­backer Barke­vi­ous Mingo to New Eng­land for a fifth-round pick.

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