Jamie Collins: Gone but not Forgotten

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Goodnight, sweet prince. I have broken my blog silence to discuss the Jamie Collins trade briefly. Also, I can’t have that trash “Jags will win the AFC south” blog as my last post. Truly, an embarrassing prediction I made. With all that talent and relatively inept division members, I thought for sure the AFC South was ripe for the Jags picking. Unfortunately, they are the Jags and they will continue their existence in last place misery.

I digress. Collins was an exceptionally versatile playmaker. He was fantastic in coverage as well as pass rush and showed ridiculous athleticism (read hurdling the line to block a FG). So his midseason trade left many Patriots fans distraught and looking for answers. Like most sports writers, all I have are musings and guesses based on the same shit you all read on the internet.

  1. Bill Belichick understands football better than any of you fans questioning the trade for a compensatory pick.

One of the biggest complaints I heard is that we should have kept him for the season and let Collins walk after our Super Bowl victory, claiming a compensatory 3rd round pick for the loss. Do you really, honestly, actually believe Bill Belichick didn’t think of that? He’s been HC and GM for the past decade and a half, building teams that consistently win to the tune of 13 AFC East championships and 10 AFCCG appearances. But you hardcore fans think Belichick missed something it took you all of five minutes to figure out on your own?

If Collins walks and doesn’t get a big ass contract the Pats get nothing. If Collins walk, but due to the Patriots recent success big name free agents take pay cuts to sign with the Pats in the offseason we could end up with nothing. Free agent acquisitions play into compensatory pick calculations as well as player losses. If Collins tears his ACL, we get a fat nothing.

2.  The Pats had no leverage in trading Collins.

We offered him $11 million/year. That’s public knowledge. Now the teams interested in a trade dwindles to the number of teams with the cap space to sign him to a “Von Miller-like deal” aka $19 million/year.

Top 5 teams by cap space are Browns, 49ers, Jags, Titans, Panthers.

Ok. Now, these 5 teams could just as easily wait until Collins walks (and we all know he was going to walk) before they sign him. What leverage does Belichick have to ask for a 1st round pick or whatever you ninnies think Collins was worth? The answer is none. Those teams stink. They’re all divisional bottom feeders who aren’t winning shit this year and can wait to finish out their losing seasons before signing some big names. So let’s just simmer down with the Belichick heat.

What does this mean for the team moving forward?

This is the question people should really be asking. The timing of this trade was almost certainly planned, in that it occurred during our bye week. Belichick and that Patriots now have ~2 weeks to prepare for the Seahawks and can devote a lot of that time to figuring out who can fill in for Jamie Collins.

Elandon Roberts is now in the spotlight as he has shared time at Collins’ position this season. So far he has done well with the snaps he was given, but time will tell if he can compete as a regular starter. As far as my speculation goes, although Collins may have been a great defensive player and incredibly versatile, I think his impact on the defensive unit as a whole is overblown. The NFL has become a pass-heavy league as many pundits will tell you and the void Collins leaves I think can be filled with more Big Nickle formations featuring Chung as the 3rd safety. He can provide help with run defense as well as coverage on strong, pass catching TEs. Ninkovich also has experience playing inside and although he is not the fastest, can certainly provide some veteran play while things shake out.

As far as the Seahawks are concerned, the are where I think the loss of Collins will probably be felt is QB containment. Russell Wilson is incredible at extending the play and scrambling for first downs. In the past we’ve seen the Patriots struggle to contain the likes of Tyrod Taylor and Wilson himself. Collins’ athleticism provided us with a player who could spy Wilson particularly well and bring him to the ground if he rushed. Without Collins, Sheard and Chis Long will have a lot of the burden pushed to them, as outside rushers, to keep Wilson in the pocket. As good as Hightower has played, I don’t think he has the quickness to stay with Wilson if he pursues him outside the pocket.

Prediction: Patriots win 34-17 with Legarrette Blount rushing for 100+ yds and 2 TDs.