Denver might make its move.
Coinciding with the decimation of the Denver Broncos’ linebacker corps is the purported availability of Jamie Collins.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday the Detroit Lions are “exploring” a trade and actively engaged in talks involving the one-time All-Pro ‘backer.
“Lions’ LB Jamie Collins, who was held out of practice today, has been the subject of trade discussions between Detroit and other teams, per sources,” Schefter wrote on Twitter.
Collins has fallen out of favor amid his second season with the Lions, led by rookie head coach Dan Campbell, who very publicly criticized the soon-to-be 32-year-old.
“Look, Jamie had some mistakes. It wasn’t certainly his best performance,” Campbell said of Collins’ Week 2 outing.
Through two games, Collins has totaled 10 tackles (seven solo), one quarterback hit, and a fumble recovery while logging 100% of Detroit’s defensive snaps. The veteran, however, is viewed as a liability, particularly in pass coverage, and has been outclassed by fourth-round rookie Derrick Barnes.
In other words, he’s not the same player who helped the New England Patriots to a victory in Super Bowl XLIX, nor even the same player who posted 135 tackles across three subsequent seasons (2016-18) with the Cleveland Browns.
But he’s able-bodied, versatile, and relatively cheap, with only $2 million in guaranteed money remaining on his contract, which runs through 2022. His cap number for this season is a manageable $7.33 million — a number that, following a previous restructure, could be further reduced to facilitate a trade.
The Broncos possess more than enough cap space ($19.207 million) to take on Collins and could use the help after losing starting outside linebacker Bradley Chubb (ankle surgery), who’s out 6-8 weeks, and inside linebacker Josey Jewell (torn pectoral), who’s done for the year.
Whether general manager George Paton picks up the phone is a different story; Denver appears content to trudge forward with Malik Reed and Justin Strnad as the replacements for Chubb and Jewell, respectively. And to bolster depth, the club on Wednesday signed ILB Micah Kiser to the active roster and OLB Pita Taumoepenu to the practice squad.
“He’s got a little bit of an advantage in that he spent the last year with the Rams. [Chargers Head Coach Brandon] Staley was there and ran our system,” Broncos HC Vic Fangio said of Kiser. “There should be a quick carry-over in learning form.”
It’s possible that Paton does his due diligence on Collins. It’s probable not to materialize beyond such — if at all.
Follow Zack on Twitter @KelbermanNFL
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