Jamie Collins could return to where his NFL career started.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that the New England Patriots are in talks with the free-agent linebacker to bring him back to Foxborough, per a source informed of the situation.
The Patriots traded the former second-round pick to the Cleveland Browns during the 2016 season. New England jettisoned Collins at the time amid rumors that the team was frustrated with his free-lancing style and didn’t plan to give him a massive new contract.
Cleveland handed the linebacker that big deal, inking Collins to a four-year, $50 million contract in 2017. He lasted just two lackluster seasons into that contract before the Browns cut him this offseason. Collins is coming off a 104-tackle, four-sack 2018 campaign, but didn’t make the impact plays that warranted his high cost.
Turning 30 years old in October, Collins still has the athletic ability to be an adept off-the-ball linebacker in 2019 if motivated. He might have to take a short-term, prove-it deal in with the Patriots this time around.
After rising to stardom early in his career in New England, a return to Foxborough could reignite his play-making ability. Bill Belichick certainly knows best how to use Collins’ skillset, and the Patriots can always find room on defense for a depth player with starter-upside for the right price.