CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns went in search of ways to build up their struggling defense after sub-par performances against the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets in back-to-back weeks, and they found what they believe to be a way to do that in the form of a trade.
The Browns sent a conditional pick in the NFL Draft to the New England Patriots in exchange for a Pro Bowl linebacker in Jamie Collins, and the move was welcomed by those in the locker room.
“I think it is a great move,” linebacker Christian Kirksey said. “He is a playmaker. He is well-known around the league. It is always good bringing another good player on the roster. We bring him in with open arms, and I think he will fit in this defense pretty well.”
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Collins is in the middle of his fourth professional season after joining the Patriots with a second-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft out of the University of Southern Mississippi. He was a Pro Bowl selection and second-team All-Pro in 2015.
“It is all about getting players to make plays and getting the best players out there,” Kirksey said. “He is one of the better linebackers that is in the league so why not get a jump on him and bring him in? I think it is a good move for us to bring a veteran guy in, bring a guy that knows how to win and knows how to make plays and we will see where he fits in on this defense.
“I am the type of guy that [studies] a lot of my opponents and a lot of my brother linebackers and stuff like that, and I watched film on him. He makes plays and he has an eye for the ball. He is a tackling machine. He does it all so I am very excited to be a teammate with him and tip my hat off to him.”
Over his career, Collins has totaled 285 tackles, 10.5 sacks, five interceptions, 10 forced fumbles, four recoveries, one defensive touchdown and a blocked extra point.
“Just being a football player, being a competitor, whenever you move to a new team and whenever you get the opportunity to play a game, you are obviously going to be excited to play,” Kirksey said. “I don’t think there is too much that we need to say for him to get excited to play here with the Browns. He is a football player so he came here to win ball games, came here to play football and that is what we expect him to do.
“He can fit anywhere. He plays some outside linebacker, some inside linebacker. He does it all. Whenever you have a versatile player like that, it definitely helps your defense. I think he will fit us pretty well, and I am looking forward to meeting my new teammate.”