The reigning Super Bowl champions have again climbed back into their DeLorean. The New England Patriots have signed productive linebacker Jamie Collins.
Bill Belichick must be feeling sentimental these days.
The six-time Super Bowl champion head coach of the New England Patriots recently brought back veteran tight end Benjamin Watson via a one-year contract after more than a decade away. On Wednesday, Belichick pulled off another reunion when he signed linebacker Jamie Collins.
Watson, a first-round draft choice by the organization in 2004, was thought to have played his last NFL game. Instead of retiring, the one-time member of the Browns, Ravens and Saints returned to the team that he spent the first six seasons of his pro career with.
In the case of Collins, the Patriots brought him back less than three years after being dealt to Cleveland. Collins is rejoining a franchise that made him the 52nd overall pick in 2013. The former Southern Miss product was traded to the Browns after playing the first seven games of 2016 for Belichick’s squad. Will this be a reunion that benefits both parties?
Via source, Jim McBride of the Boston Globe reported on Wednesday that Collins joining the Patriots is official. Contract terms were not immediately available.
Simply put, this is a tremendous addition for the six-time Super Bowl champs and reigning NFL champions. Collins is 29 years old (he turns 30 in late October) and comes off a season in which he started all 16 games for the Browns. He led the club with 104 tackles, to go along with four sacks, two takeaways, one forced fumble and four passes defensed.
In three plus-seasons with the Pats from 2013-16, the talented defenders played in 50 regular-season games and made 41 starts. Along with his share of stops, there were 10.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. Add in five interceptions and 16 passes defensed and Collins is one of the league’s most complete linebackers.
The Patriots have been busy the last week or so adding veteran free agents such as Collins, Watson, tackle Jared Veldheer and wide receiver Dontrelle Inman to team-friendly deals. It’s adding up another productive offseason for a patient franchise that knows how to build a balanced roster.