Since the New England Patriots traded star linebacker Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns for a third round draft pick, there has been some criticism directed towards Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn for not being in on the festivities. Collins was drafted by the Patriots in the second round of the 2013 draft, and has been a playmaker since entering the league, to the tune of 353 career tackles, 10.5 sacks, and five interceptions. Sounds great, right? Well, he’ll probably make big plays no matter where he is playing. But, here are a couple of reasons why it was actually smart for the Lions to pass on Collins.
First off, the money situation isn’t favorable for the Lions to add a star-type player at the end of his contract right now. Collins reportedly rejected an extension offer from the Patriots worth $11 million a year, and extensions are soon due for players including quarterback Matthew Stafford and defensive end Ziggy Ansah. Also, remember that cornerback Darius Slay just got a big money extension as well. The thought of a franchise tag on Collins would cost approximately $15 million, which is also unrealistic for the Lions at this point. If Detroit was a legitimate contender for the Super Bowl right now, the idea of acquiring Collins as a rental would have made sense, but the fact of the matter is that Detroit is not a Super Bowl contender. Trading a third round draft pick for a rental player just doesn’t make sense for the Lions at this point in time.
At the end of the day, the Browns can afford Collins. Detroit can’t.
Another detracting issue with Collins is his style of play, more exclusively his tendency to freelance whenever he wants.
Collins on the second play of the game does whatever he wants and Bills gain 28 yards. Been happening all year. It was not going to continue
— Michael Lombardi (@mlombardiNFL) October 31, 2016
Sure, the Lions have a need for a playmaking linebacker. With 52 tackles, two interceptions, and a sack so far this season, Collins would definitely fit that bill. But, with a defense that is already struggling overall, adding a linebacker who has a knack for leaving more holes on the field doesn’t seem like a good idea.
Finally, we’ve heard Quinn say in the past that it’s important to know the players on your roster. He spent plenty of time with Collins in New England, so one would likely assume that Quinn would have a pretty sound idea as to whether or not it would make sense to commit such money and term to Collins.
Sure, the idea of trading a third round pick for a player of Collins’ caliber sounds great on the surface. But in the end, I believe the Lions are better off in the long run for not taking a waiver on him.