Detroit Lions’ Jamie Collins trade should happen soon: ‘We’ve got suitors’

Detroit Free Press

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The Detroit Lions are moving aggressively forward in their efforts to trade linebacker Jamie Collins, who appears to have played his last game in Detroit.

Lions coach Dan Campbell said Thursday that Collins will be away from the team while trade talks are ongoing and he hopes a deal is in place “sooner rather than later.”

“We’ll see where it goes,” Campbell said. “There again, we’re just letting this thing play out right now. We’ve got suitors right now. So certainly we’re hoping to have this done sooner than later, but we’re not necessarily putting a timetable on it either. We had open communication with Jamie. We sat down and told him straight up. He’s been good. He understands.”

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Collins started the first two games of the season at inside linebacker, but has struggled in pass coverage dating back to last season, and does not fit into the Lions’ long-term plans.

Rookie Derrick Barnes, a fourth-round pick out of Purdue, is expected to take on a significant defensive role in Collins’ absence, though Campbell said Jalen Reeves-Maybin will see time at inside linebacker, too.

Barnes has played five defensive snaps in the Lions’ first two games, all coming when Collins was receiving medical attention for an ankle injury late in a Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Barnes missed time this preseason with a strained hamstring, but played well when he was on the field, including a six-tackle, one-sack performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“You saw it in the preseason and then even the limited snaps he got (against) San Francisco, you could see just his aggressive style,” Campbell said. “He plays lights out, he can run. Look, he’s going to have some growing pains, things are going to come up. But he can make up for a lot just with his effort, too, which he’s done.”

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Campbell was less complimentary when asked about Collins’ effort earlier this week, but said Thursday the veteran linebacker has been a good teammate overall, losing weight in the offseason to fit the Lions’ new defense and bringing the right attitude to work.

Trading him, Campbell said, is about where the 0-2 Lions are as a team, where Barnes is in his growth as a player, and the lack of contributions Collins would be in position to make as a backup.

Barnes and Reeves-Maybin are two of the Lions’ best special teams players, while Collins does not play on most special teams units.

“We’ve been through two games now and you just, you make your assessment and your judgment after two games and that’s where we’re at,” Campbell said. “There again, we felt like if you’re going to grow and you’re going to try to get better as a team, as a unit, everything, you better do it now. And there again, I think this is best for Jamie as well. He gets a chance to go somewhere and do what he does and we’re just in a different place.”

At 31 and with $3.3 million left on his contract this season, Collins will not be a fit for many NFL teams, though Campbell said he expects the Lions to find a suitor.

On Thursday, the Lions signed linebacker Josh Woods off the Chicago Bears practice squad. They did not immediately announce a corresponding transaction.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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