New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has to be the boldest coach in the NFL after yet another shocking trade of an able and talented player in the final year of his contract.
In a tradition that includes defensive stalwarts Richard Seymour and more recently Chandler Jones, Belichick pulled the trigger on shipping linebacker Jamie Collins to the dismal Cleveland Browns for a mere 3rd round compensatory pick (which may turn into a 4th-rounder).
Collins, entering the final year of his rookie contract, reportedly wanted “Von Miller money” – a statement that reads like a he was just asking to be jettisoned out of town by the frugal Belichick, who seems to find every player (sans QB Tom Brady) expendable.
The shock of the trade was shared by many of his teammates, including CB Devin McCourty:
“Jamie is a huge piece of our defense, arguably our best defensive player,” Pro Bowl safety Devin McCourty told CSN New England. “So there’s gonna be a lot of changes that come from this move and I think as players that has to be our focus — how do we fix things and get things going in a positive direction.”
Now, once again, fans will put their “In Belichick we trust” mantra to the test – Can such a defensive shakeup still keep them on the path to another Super Bowl title?
The Patriots at 7-1 are the clear Super Bowl favorites, and only time will tell if Belichick’s move will have a positive effect on the defense.
Trades like this by the Patriots usually serve a dual purpose – the clear No. 1 is saving money by not having to deal with a player that will be looking for a big pay day next season, and perhaps something behind the scenes that we fans are just not privy too.
Collins, while a talented player, by some accounts has been a bit inconsistent this year – that alone could’ve prompted Belichick to make such a bold move. It also sends a big message to his teammates – no one is really safe on this team.