BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots are bringing back free agent linebacker Jamie Collins.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network was first to report New England was in talks with Collins earlier Wednesday.
Things did not end well between the Patriots and Collins the first time around, as the Pats dealt him to the Cleveland Browns during the 2016 season, but that all appears to be in the past.
According to Jim McBride of the Boston Globe, Collins “will be present for some on-field work on Thursday.”
Collins was released by the Browns in March after he recorded 104 total tackles (73 solo tackles), four sacks, seven quarterback hits, an interception, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble in 16 games during the 2018 season. His 104 tackles would have ranked first on the Patriots last season.
New England could certainly use a versatile linebacker in the mix, with Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy and Ja’Whaun Bentley at the top of their depth chart. Collins could help as New England looks to make up the production lost from Trey Flowers’ offseason departure for the Detroit Lions.
Collins spent three-and-a-half season with the Patriots after they drafted him in the second round in 2013, making several highlight reel plays during his time in New England. He led the team with 138 tackles in 2014 and made the Pro Bowl in 2015, but things went south toward the end of his rookie deal. There were reports that Collins was freelancing a little too much on defense and he didn’t hide his desires to get paid that offseason, and was sent to Cleveland ahead of the 2016 trade deadline. He eventually signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Browns, but only made it through two seasons of the deal.