Free Agent Pro Bowl Linebacker Visits Patriots

New England Patriots

Getty New England Patriots

It looks like a former New England Patriots linebacker could be coming back to Foxboro for his fourth stint with the organization.

According to the NFL transaction wire, Jamie Collins visited the Patriots on Tuesday. The 32-year-old remains a free agent after not being brought back by New England after last season.

Collins has played nine seasons in the NFL and has amassed over 700 tackles along with 26.5 sacks and 12 interceptions per Pro Football Reference.

New England decided to get younger when it comes to its linebackers. While the likes of Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, and Collins failed to get a spot on the roster, Raekwon McMillan, Mack Wilson, and Anfernee Jennings ended up being their replacements. McMillian is the elder statesman at 26 years old. Even Ja’Whaun Bentley who is now the quarterback of the defense is just 26 years old.

How Has Collins Performed in New England?

The linebacker has had his best years with the Patriots. In 2019, Collins tallied seven sacks along with 81 tackles, three interceptions, and three forced fumbles. Also in 2015, the linebacker recorded 89 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and five forced fumbles.

Also while in New England, Collins was named to a Pro Bowl and also won two Super Bowls. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick clearly has a high opinion of Collins considering the praise that the coach had for the linebacker last season.

“I don’t know how many players in the league could make that play,” Belichick said of Collins’ pick, which came in a November win over the Carolina Panthers. “Not very many. It was a tremendous play.”

The Patriots defense will be crucial to the team’s success in 2022. With New England only scoring 24 points total in the two games they have played this season, the defense will need to shut down opposing offenses if the Pats want to win games.

Is New England Moving up the Power Rankings?

Bleacher Report published their updated power rankings, and the Patriots are quietly moving up the board. After being ranked 21st, New England moved up to 17th.

Still, BR’s Gary Davenport isn’t confident in the Patriots making any noise in the postseason.

“The Patriots aren’t a bad team,” Davenport said. “And any team with a defense run by Bill Belichick is going to be solid on that side of the ball. But I have no confidence that the New England offense can hang with the likes of the Bills and Chiefs. As a matter of fact, we saw in Week 1 that they couldn’t hang with Miami. It’s far more likely this team misses the postseason than makes any sort of noise in the playoffs.”

Adding Collins would surely improve New England’s defense. Belichick has been able to get the best out of Collins and it’s hard to believe that will change in 2022. With the Patriots defense playing such an important role this season, the addition of Collins would only help out New England.

So the Patriots could be in line for another reunion as they hope to salvage the 2022 season.


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