The Detroit Lions aren’t exactly ready to be called sellers at this point in the season. However, the front office is willing to part ways with veteran linebacker Jamie Collins.
According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, the Lions are exploring trade options for Collins because they want to free up playing time for their younger linebackers.
If the Lions unload Collins before the trade deadline, the linebacker corps would rely on Alex Anzalone, Derrick Barnes, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Anthony Pittman. The oldest player out of that group is Anzalone, and he’s only 27 years old.
Here's what the Lions' LB corps would theoretically look like without Jamie Collins:
Alex Anzalone (27 years old)
Derrick Barnes (22)
Jalen Reeves-Maybin (26)
Anthony Pittman (24)
and just Tavante Beckett (23) on the practice squad.
Only Barnes is under contract beyond 2021.
— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) September 22, 2021
The main concern regarding any trade involving Collins is his salary. In 2020, he signed a three-year, $30 million contract with Detroit.
Fortunately for the Lions, they could potentially alter Collins’ contract in order to make him a more appealing option for suitors.
“A team trading for Jamie Collins right now would owe him $3.378M for the rest of 2021,” ESPN’s Field Yates said. “One way for Detroit to draw more trade interest would be to pay Collins a signing bonus and drop his base salary, a la Bradley Roby in Houston. Could help fetch a better draft pick too.”
A team trading for Jamie Collins right now would owe him $3.378M for the rest of 2021.
One way for Detroit to draw more trade interest would be to pay Collins a signing bonus and drop his base salary, a la Bradley Roby in Houston.
Could help fetch a better draft pick too.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 22, 2021
As for a potential landing spot, it sounds like fans could see Collins going back to New England.
“Send Jamie Collins back to the Pats and give us N’Keal Harry,” a Lions fan tweeted.
Send Jamie Collins back to the Pats and give us N'Keal Harry
— Lions Guy (@LionsGuy9) September 22, 2021
Teams in need of help at linebacker will most likely call to see what the Lions’ asking price is for Collins.
During the 2020 season, Collins had 101 total tackles, six passes defended, three forced fumbles and a sack. There’s no question he can still be an impactful player on a contending team.