DraftHistory.com

Jamie Collins Trade Hurts Patriots’ Pass Defense and Helps Browns Stop Run

By Chris Malumphy

It isn't often that a young star with "freakish talent" is traded in midseason, especially when that player helped his team to the AFC Championship game the prior season. So eyebrows were certainly raised when the New England Patriots traded linebacker Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns as the trading deadline approached a few weeks ago for a seemingly low third round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. After all, Collins appeared to be a main cog with big play skills in the Patriots' defense. At 6 ft 3, 250 pounds and with good speed, it appeared that the 27-year old Collins would be a stalwart in New England for a long time to come.

In addition, Collins seemed to have been playing well and the Patriots were winning games. The Patriots were 6-1 with Collins on the field in 2016, including victories in each of their last three games prior to the trade. Collins' stats for those games included 28 solo tackles, 11 assists, two interceptions, a forced fumble and two passes defended. Had genius Coach Bill Belichick finally gone mad or was something more complex taking place. Was the trade done with future salary-cap considerations in mind? Had the Patriots determined that they couldn't afford to sign both Dont'a Hightower and Collins to long-term deals and decided to keep Hightower? Or was Belichick "sending a message" to the rest of the team that no job in the Patriots' lineup is safe, especially for a player who, as analyst and former New England front office executive Mike Lombardi has suggested, freelances too much and doesn't always play according to the desired scheme? There are no answers to those questions here. But we can comment on the statistical impact the trade has since had on the Patriots and the Browns.

There has been no appreciable impact on either team's won-loss record thus far. As Week 13 approaches, the Patriots have been 6-1 with Collins on the field and 3-1 without him, including one game prior to the trade in which Collins did not play due to injury. The Browns were 0-8 prior to the trade and are 0-4 since then.

The loss of Collins has seemingly hurt the Patriots' pass defense with the team's defensive pass rating rising significantly from 82.9 with Collins on the field to 111.0 without him, while the Browns' pass defense rating was marginally better without him, being 103.4 before the trade and 104.1 since then. But there are a lot of factors involved with those statistics. The Browns' defense has been stingier with Collins in both yards per attempt (8.4 before the trade, 6.9 after) and yards per completion (13.3 before, 10.1 after) which coincides with a converse impact on the Patriots which went from 6.5 per attempt with Collins in the lineup to 8.3 without him and 10.5 yards per completion to 12.8 without him. Contradictorily, the Browns' rushing defensive improved going from 4.8 average yards gained per carry prior to the trade to 4.1 yards afterwards, while the Patriots' have been better defending against the run at 3.7 yards per carry without him in the lineup but with an average of 4.2 when he was on the field for them. So whether the gain or loss of Collins helps or hurts a teams pass and rushing defense is somewhat unclear and differs by team.

The season still has much in store and Collins appears to have a long playing future ahead of him, whether it is with the Browns or elsewhere. So it is still too early to tell whether the trade will work out for the best for either team. But the loss of Collins athleticism and that change in defensive pass rating from 82.9 to 111.0 should be a cause of concern for the Patriots and their fans.

Here are the before and after stats for both teams following Week 12.

Browns Defensive Statistics with/without Jamie Collins in Lineup
Jamie
Collins
AttCompPctYdsYds
Att
Yds
Comp
TDPct
TD
IntPct
Int
SacksYds
Lost
Pct
Sacks
RatingRush
Att
Rush
Yds
Rush
Avg
Rush
TD
Without27517362.923088.413.3196.962.214864.8103.424211504.810
With1329068.29126.910.196.821.53212.2104.11315374.13
Total40726364.632207.912.2286.982.0171074.0103.637316874.513

Browns Defensive Statistics by Week with/without Jamie Collins in Lineup
WeekJamie
Collins
OppRecordAttCompPctYdsYds
Att
Yds
Comp
TDPct
TD
IntPct
Int
SacksYds
Lost
Pct
Sacks
RatingForced
Fumbles
Rush
Att
Rush
Yds
Rush
Avg
Rush
TD
Score
01WithoutEagles5-6-0372259.52787.512.625.400.0285.1101.00341333.91L 10 - 29
02WithoutRavens6-5-0452555.63026.712.124.424.4000.072.6026803.10L 20 - 25
03WithoutDolphins7-4-0392564.13198.212.837.725.1182.593.91251154.61L 24 - 30
04WithoutRedskins6-4-1272177.81836.88.7311.113.732710.0116.71261455.61L 20 - 31
05WithoutPatriots9-2-0412868.34069.914.537.300.0132.4124.6035982.81L 13 - 33
06WithoutTitans6-6-0241770.828411.816.7312.514.22147.7134.70311374.41L 26 - 28
07WithoutBengals3-7-1281967.930811.016.227.100.03209.7128.31302719.02L 17 - 31
08WithoutJets3-8-0341647.12286.714.312.900.0265.679.00351714.93L 28 - 31
09WithCowboys11-1-0282278.62559.111.6310.700.0000.0141.21421684.02L 10 - 35
10WithRavens6-5-0413073.22967.29.937.324.92194.797.20341193.50L 7 - 28
11WithSteelers6-5-0362363.91674.67.300.000.0000.074.71281465.21L 9 - 24
12WithGiants8-3-0271555.61947.212.9311.100.0123.6115.40271043.90L 13 - 27
TotalBrowns   0-12-040726364.632207.912.2286.982.0171074.0103.6537316874.513  

Patriots Defensive Statistics with/without Jamie Collins in Lineup
Jamie
Collins
AttCompPctYdsYds
Att
Yds
Comp
TDPct
TD
IntPct
Int
SacksYds
Lost
Pct
Sacks
RatingRush
Att
Rush
Yds
Rush
Avg
Rush
TD
With28417662.018506.510.582.851.811653.782.91646934.25
Without1308464.610778.312.886.200.011707.8111.01084023.71
Total41426062.829277.111.3163.951.2221355.091.727210954.06

Patriots Defensive Statistics by Week with/without Jamie Collins in Lineup
WeekJamie
Collins
OppRecordAttCompPctYdsYds
Att
Yds
Comp
TDPct
TD
IntPct
Int
SacksYds
Lost
Pct
Sacks
RatingForced
Fumbles
Rush
Att
Rush
Yds
Rush
Avg
Rush
TD
Score
01WithCardinals4-6-1372464.92717.311.325.400.03197.5104.7019924.81W 23 - 21
02WithDolphins7-4-0453271.13898.612.224.424.4000.093.7216704.41W 31 - 24
03WithTexans6-5-0412458.51964.88.200.012.42214.760.62271094.00W 27 - 0
04WithBills6-5-0392769.22466.39.112.600.0224.994.60321344.20L 0 - 16
05WithBrowns0-12-0352057.12497.112.525.712.92145.486.5122271.20W 33 - 13
06WithoutBengals3-7-1312167.72548.212.113.200.02176.1103.40321203.81W 35 - 17
07WithSteelers6-5-0472961.72816.09.712.112.1000.076.6122944.30W 27 - 16
08WithBills6-5-0402050.02185.510.900.000.0294.866.50261676.43W 41 - 25
10WithoutSeahawks7-3-1372567.63489.413.938.100.03247.5124.6126963.70L 24 - 31
11Without49ers1-10-0301653.32066.912.926.700.052914.397.43271224.50W 30 - 17
12WithoutJets3-8-0322268.82698.412.226.300.0103.0115.2223642.80W 22 - 17
TotalPatriots   9-2-041426062.829277.111.3163.951.2221355.091.71227210954.06