The Detroit Lions already upgraded their offense with a big move, and the team has now taken to trying to upgrade their defense next.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Lions are set to sign Jamie Collins, a linebacker from the New England Patriots. Collins enjoyed a career resurgence after linking back up with the Patriots in 2019, and parlayed that into a solid deal with Matt Patricia, his former defensive coordinator.
According to Rapoport, Collins is getting a 3 year deal that will be worth $30 million from Detroit.
Now that he will be in the mix, Collins will be counted on to help the Lions rush the passer and create more havoc on defense.
Lions Were Instructed to Avoid Jamie Collins
One player they should avoid? New England Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins. According to Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report, the Lions shouldn’t look in the direction of the Patriots’ linebacker who is about to become a free agent.
Here’s a look at what Knox wrote explaining why that is the case:
“The Detroit Lions need help defensively, where they ranked 31st overall this season. Head coach and former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia has an affinity for New England players—he brought in both Danny Amendola and Trey Flowers last offseason.
Thus, the Lions could pursue Pats linebacker Jamie Collins in free agency—but they shouldn’t.
Collins has been fantastic for New England this season. He’s amassed 81 tackles, 7.0 sacks, three forced fumbles and three interceptions.
However, he is 30 years old and has not played his best football away from New England. In two-plus seasons with the Cleveland Browns, he had one good-not-great campaign: a 104-tackle, four-sack season in 2018.
Because of his numbers this season, Collins is likely to land a sizable contract in free agency, the kind of deal that should only be paid by a franchise that is a piece or two away from contention.”
The Lions have targeted Patriots free agents before, and have seen mixed results on that. Obviously, they need an infusion of talent on defense, and linebacker and rush linebacker is a huge need for the team. Everyone who is a free agent that could fit might be expected to get a hard look with this in mind.
Even such, many don’t think someone like Collins would fill the need properly for 2020. But he will be called upon now that he is in the mix.
Jamie Collins Stats
Collins has been a solid performer in the NFL for years. He started with the Patriots where he got to know Matt Patricia, and later was traded to the Cleveland Browns for a few seasons before he got released and signed back in New England.
In terms of production, Collins has been solid as well. Collins has put up 577 tackles, 24.5 sacks and registered 16 forced fumbles as well as 10 interceptions. He’s been a terror in terms of his ability to come off the edge and make a variety of plays for a defense.
Perhaps the only concern about Collins right now is his age. At 30, he’s getting a bit long in the tooth for a big contract, something any team that thinks about adding him will have to consider.
Lions Biggest 2020 Free Agency Need is Defense
In order to get back into the playoffs and turn themselves around, the Lions are going to need an infusion of talent, especially on defense. Detroit did not pressure the quarterback meaningfully in 2019, and struggled stopping the pass as well, something that has been painfully obvious for weeks and that is a glaring problem given what the team has done in the last few offseason periods. Part of the problem has been injury, but beyond Trey Flowers and Da’Shawn Hand, the Lions simply don’t have any young building blocks they can count on right now. The team has to find some form of consistency in the trenches, and that is why it’s a major need for them moving forward.
In free agency, the Lions will undoubtably have to look at the defensive line and the backfield for potential upgrades, with another eye at linebacker. Having some extra money could help the team make some key additions there, and patch some of their other depth holes on the offensive side.
Collins coming to the Motor City at least fills a major need for a pass rusher and a gritty player on defense.
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