Philadelphia Eagles: Jamie Collins shouldn’t be on Howie Roseman’s radar

Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Say what you will about the work-in-progress nature of the Philadelphia Eagles‘ offense, but Jonathan Gannon‘s defense has largely looked as advertised versus two very different offenses.

Facing off against a receiver-happy Atlanta attack and a Niners’ offense that literally has a fullback, the Eagles have given up an average of 162.5 passing yards, 120.5 rushing yards, and 11.5 points per game, good for the third, 19th, and fourth in the league through two weeks.

Hmm, how do you have a 1-1 record when you average the fourth-fewest points per game? Maybe by playing the Falcons in Week 1 and scoring the fourth-fewest points in Week 2 in front of only the New Orleans Saints, the New York Jets, and the Miami Dolphins.

Sidebar: Boy, that is a weird, weird group.

So naturally, even if the Eagles’ defensive unit has held up incredibly well under Gannon’s watchful eye doesn’t mean the team can’t improve it if the right offer comes along. If anything, Howie Roseman should be fairly active in 2021 on the trade market, as he’s got a ton of quality picks and much more salary-cap space in 2022.

Unfortunately, the biggest name on the trade block just isn’t a good fit with what the Philadelphia Eagles are looking for either right now or moving forward.

Jamie Collins just isn’t a fit with the Philadelphia Eagles.

In Minnesota, Jonathan Gannon saw firsthand the benefits of having a supersized linebacker capable of doing a little bit of everything.

While many a 4-3 team has moved away from true Sam linebackers, let alone hybrid Sam/Leos in favor of bolstering their back seven with hybrid safety defenders and versatile slot cornerbacks, having a player who can thump on first down, drop into coverage on second, and rush the passer on third down is still a very valuable asset that has to be accounted for on any given play.

In Minnesota, that player was Anthony Barr, a former first-round pick out of UCLA who almost signed with the New York Jets last offseason but opted to return to the Vikings instead on a less lucrative but more positionally adventurous deal.

In Philadelphia, that player is… Genard Avery? Yeah, not quite the same caliber of talent.

Through the first two weeks of the regular season, Avery hasn’t been a particularly effective defensive weapon for Gannon and the Philadelphia Eagles. Sure, he started in Week 1 and Week 2, but he’s only logged 39 combined snaps over the two contests; a number Eric Wilson has already overcome by himself nearly three times over.

While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as Avery is a base package linebacker, which is basically a subpackage at this point, when he’s actually taken the field, his play hadn’t been particularly impactful.

Stat-wise, we’re talking three solo tackles, six assisted tackles, two pressures, and a QB hit in 39 snaps while allowing one catch on one target for five yards. All in all, not horrible, but certainly nothing to write home about either.

So naturally, if an opportunity presented itself to replace Avery with a bigger, stronger hybrid linebacker/rusher on a long-term deal, the Eagles would at least consider the deal, right?

Consider? Yes. Actually execute the deal? Well, I guess that depends on the player.

If Barr was available, I imagine the Eagles would strongly consider making a deal, even if he might cost a pretty penny to acquire.

Jamie Collins, unfortunately, isn’t Anthony Barr, even if he sort of looks the part all padded up.

Measuring in at 6-foot-3, 255 pounds, Collins is a New England Patriots draftee who has bounced around the Bill Belichick coaching tree on his nine-year cross country trip around the NFL. He’s the proud owner of two Super Bowl rings, went to the Pro Bowl once in 2015, and signed a three-year, $30 million contract to reunite with former Patriots DC Matt Patricia as a member of the Detroit Lions, even if that pairing only lasted 11 games before the latter was fired.

Now tasked with playing under Aaron Glenn, a disciple of the Saints’ defensive system, Collins’ do-it-all play-ability that made him a fixture of the Patriots’ system has remained on display under new management; it just hasn’t been particularly impressive.

In his post-game comments after Week 2, head coach Dan Campbell suggested that the team may look to give more playing time to Derrick Barnes, a 2021 fourth-round pick out of Purdue, alongside New Orleans transplant Alex Anzalone, a move that would relegate the former Pat to a Genard Avery-esque role.

So naturally, with the rest of this season and all of the next left on Collins’ deal, it would make sense that the Lions’ brass is interested in moving off of their former free agent addition to free-up a spot in their starting lineup for Barnes.

Needless to say, as I’ve said it already in this very piece, the Eagles should not be the team that takes that deal, even if it would be significantly cheaper than one may assume due to the amount of guaranteed money left on his deal.

On the Eagles’ defense right now, Collins would likely start at Sam linebacker, as he is a better player than Avery. He’d play roughly the same number of snaps per game in that role – give or take 20 – and then slide down to defensive end to rush the passer, drop into coverage, and play the option in place of either Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, Milton Williams, or Ryan Kerrigan.

Is that, my friends, worth $4 million in 2021 and $10 million in 2022? Again, no, not for a 31-year-old front seven player on his third team in four years.

Next. Consider claiming Curtis Weaver from the Browns. dark

Could the Philadelphia Eagles address their defense, either upfront, in the secondary, or at linebacker this season? Most definitely. With a ton of draft capital on the books and only so many players truly locked into their future moving forward, Howie Roseman will surely be on the lookout for well-fitting players on long-term contracts who could help them win both now and moving forward. Jamie Collins, unfortunately, is not that player. *sigh* maybe Anthony Barr will become available?