Earlier this week, the New England Patriots made a surprising move by trading Jamie Collins, who is one of their best defensive linebackers, to the Cleveland Browns in exchange of a condition 2017 draft pick. Although the deal sounds strange for the Patriots, from the perspective of the New England franchise, the trade gives the team an opportunity to build a long-term stable roster.
Collins has been with the Patriots since 2013 after he was selected as the 52nd overall draft pick during the second round. As the years went by, Collins' career in New England flourished and was even selected for the AP All-Pro second team in 2015.
This season was scheduled to be Collins' last with the team, which means if he stayed with the Patriots, he will become a free agent next year. This would have then given the New England front office two possible scenarios: either completely part ways with Collins or offer him a contract extension.
However, if the Patriots decided to retain Collins, they would have been compelled to offer him a long-term contract, which could be somewhere in the neighborhood of a $15 million franchise tag, according to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport. Given this value, the Patriots may have realized that they would be better off saving their money for a better player in the future than sticking with Collins.
As a result, the New England organization made a stunning move by placing Collins on the trading block. The team that immediately responded to the Patriots' offer were the Bears.
Cleveland's decision to trade for Collins probably didn't come as a surprise given the team's current situation. Right now, the Bears are win-less and are looking at a 0-8 record. Through the trade, they are hoping that Collins will be able to turn their defense around and ultimately win some games for them.
In exchange for Collins, the Bears offered up a condition third round pick to the Patriots for 2017. This means that if the Bears fail to secure that draft pick next year, then the Patriots will get their fourth-round pick, CBS Sports noted.