Patriots reportedly signing former Pro Bowler Jamie Collins three years after trading him to the Browns

Less than three years after trading him, the New England Patriots have reportedly welcomed back Jamie Collins, reuniting with the former Pro Bowl linebacker about a month after he hit the open market.

According to the Boston Globe's Jim McBride, the Pats have signed Collins and are expected to have the veteran with them for their offseason program as early as Thursday. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday afternoon that New England was in talks with Collins about a reunion following the linebacker's release from the Cleveland Browns a month earlier.

A second-round draft pick of the Patriots in 2013, Collins spent most of the first four years of his NFL career playing in New England. He saw his first starting experience as a rookie in relief of current Pats linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, then opened his second season as a full-time first-teamer. By 2015, the Southern Miss product was a Pro Bowler and All-Pro honoree, with five forced fumbles that year, and had a Super Bowl start under his belt, helping the Patriots top the Seattle Seahawks for a Lombardi Trophy the season prior.

Ahead of the 2016 in-season trade deadline, Collins was dealt to the Browns in exchange for a future third-round pick amid speculation that he "freelanced" within the Patriots defense -- and that New England didn't want to give him a big-money extension he sought. Cleveland had no problem paying him after he arrived, inking Collins to a four-year, $50 million deal in 2017, but the 29-year-old was cut on March 6 after two and a half seasons and just 30 total games in Cleveland.

Collins rebounded from a 2017 season shortened by a torn MCL with 16 starts and 104 tackles in 2018, but he saved the Browns a reported $9.25 million in 2019 thanks to his release.

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