I'm not sure if anyone has heard yet, but the Patriots traded Jamie Collins today.
Reaction has been, as expected, as typical as ever as the news broke across the Twitterverse; as always, fans and experts alike fell solidly into two camps. It has been either "what the hell is Bill Belichick doing?! This doesn't make any sense!" or "What the hell is Belichick doing? Oh well, these things always seem to work out, so I 'll be very curious to see what becomes of this." There are a few people who fall somewhat in the middle, but for the most part, reactions have been extremely strong all across the board.
Which leads me to wonder, as a member of Patriots Nation in the latter camp, if this is all part of some larger move set to take place before the trade deadline at 4PM tomorrow. Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, the signs for the Collins trade were there, if you knew where to look. The Mingo acquisition. The Van Noy trade. Bringing in Shea McClellan. Elandon Roberts getting the start yesterday. You might even be able to lump Chandler Jones in there as evidence that the team was, at the very least, assembling a contingency plan in case contract talks with Collins continued to stagnate. New England obviously valued Collins enough to offer to make him one of the highest paid linebackers in the league, but they weren't going to bow to his demands, and who knows how long these negotiations have been going on. The writing may have been on the wall for some time now, which might help to explain the abundance of LBs on the roster right now.
So, is Bill Belichick done for the year? Or is he planning on making another move by this time tomorrow?
Your guess is as good as mine, and I'm not here to offer any kind of predictions. I didn't see the Collins trade coming, nor did anybody else, and even though I'm going to wait to see how all this plays out before I freak out, I still can't help but wonder if there might have been a team willing to give up more than a late 3rd rounder for one of the best athletes in the league. Regardless, New England's track record speaks for itself, and maybe there's one or two more moves to be made before it's all said and done. The Patriots now have some draft capital at their disposal, as well as one less key FA to worry about this offseason, so another trade is by no means out of the question. Maybe they'll bring in another receiver. Maybe they'll trade for an edge rusher. Or maybe they'll do absolutely nothing. Pretty much anything goes with this team, which is one of the many reasons why they are so fun to watch.
Freak out if you must, but let's all wait for the trade deadline to come and go before assessing the big picture.