Jamie Collinsis set to begin a fourth stint in New England. The Patriots are expected to sign the veteran linebacker either, reports ESPN’s Mike Reiss (Twitter link). Collins’ agent has confirmed the deal. It is a practice squad agreement.
The 32-year-old found himself on the Patriots’ radar once again last month, when he visited the team on a workout. That came weeks after he did the same with the Raiders, whose coaching staff includes a number of ex-New England personnel. Collins has elected to take the familiar route of reuniting with Bill Belichick.
A Patriots second-rounder in 2013, the Southern Mississippi alum earned Pro Bowl honors for the only time in his career two years later. By the following season, however, he was in Cleveland, where he remained until 2018. A one-year return to Foxborough earned him another lucrative free agent deal, this time from the Lions.
That contract — like his Browns one — was terminated prematurely, however. Free to rejoin the Patriots once again, Collins started two of his 10 appearances with the team last season. He made just 20 tackles in New England, a figure which fell well short of his 101 stops the previous season.
The Patriots lost veterans Kyle Van Noyand Dont’a Hightowerduring free agency this offseason, leaving the team thin in at the second level. Ja’Whaun Bentley has seen an increase in workload over the past two weeks, with Jahlani Tavai taking on a starter’s role during yesterday’s loss to the Packers. The team also has Raekwon McMillanand Mack Wilsonavailable as depth at the position, so it will be interesting to see what kind of role Collins assumes for the remainder of the season.
On just his second series as the starting quarterback, Hoyer took a hard hit on a sack from Packers linebacker Rashan Gary and left the game to be evaluated with a head injury. Hoyer had looked good in his limited time, completing five of his six pass attempts for 37 yards before getting knocked out of the game.
With Jones and Hoyer ruled out, New England was forced to turn to its fourth-round pick from this year’s draft, Bailey Zappe. The rookie out of Western Kentucky is truly the Patriots’ only option as even their emergency quarterback, wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, is out today with a knee injury.
The former Hilltopper faces the daunting task of beating the Packers in his first bit of NFL playing time. So far, Zappe has been up to the task becoming the first quarterback from the 2022 NFL Draft class to throw an NFL touchdown. Both Titans’ rookie quarterback Malik Willis and Steelers’ rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett were allotted playing time before Zappe, but it was Zappe who cashed in with his arm first (Pickett had two rushing touchdowns in today’s loss to the Jets).
Even if Zappe leads the Patriots to an upset victory over the Packers, he likely won’t be asked to man the starting job for long. Despite the apparent severity of Jones’ initial injury, Jones has refused to accept an extended absence, seeking a second opinion on his diagnosis and teasing fans not to count him out for this week’s game before being ruled out. Hoyer’s injury shouldn’t keep him out for very long either, unless it’s an especially severe head injury.
If they are forced to move forward with Zappe, the next few games could be manageable as they don’t face a single team currently over .500 until after their bye week. If Jones and Hoyer are out for multiple weeks, Zappe would be in line to start against the Lions next Sunday and the Browns the following week.
It also would not be a surprise to see New England sign a quarterback to their practice squad this week. The Patriots will need someone to back up Zappe with even Meyers on the injured list.
September 30th, 2022 at 2:55pm CST by Sam Robinson
After suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 3, Mac Jones was not expected to play this week. He will not; the Patriots ruled him out for their Week 4 game in Green Bay.
Brian Hoyer will get the call against the Packers. This will be Hoyer’s 40th career start. Despite his extensive history with the Patriots, Sunday will mark only the veteran’s second start with the team.
Jones did not log an official practice this week, though the Pats quarterback was present at the team’s Friday workout. Bill Belichick repeatedly called the 2021 first-rounder “day to day,” but the young passer is believed to be battling a severe high ankle sprain — one that could sideline him for multiple games. Thus, it was expected throughout the week Hoyer would get the call. Jones made a strong effort to play through this issue Sunday, but NFL.com’s Mike Giardi notes the Alabama product continues to walk with a “noticeable limp” (Twitter link).
Hoyer, 36, has made some memorable contributions as a pro. The Cleveland-area native had the Browns in playoff contention late in the 2014 season, one that came mostly without Josh Gordon, and replaced Ryan Mallett early in the 2015 campaign to steer the Texans to an AFC South title. The former UDFA threw 19 touchdown passes compared to just seven interceptions that season. But Hoyer is far removed from his best NFL days; he is 1-12 as a starter since that Houston season. That win came for the 2016 Bears.
The Patriots have nevertheless circled back to Hoyer on multiple occasions. Adding him as a 2009 UDFA, the Pats kept Hoyer around for three seasons. They then re-signed him in 2017, after having traded Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers. Hoyer began that season as San Francisco’s stopgap starter but finished it as Tom Brady‘s backup. After the Colts signed Hoyer to back up Jacoby Brissett in 2019, in the wake of the surprise Andrew Luck retirement, the Pats brought him back for the 2020 season. Hoyer backed up Cam Newton in 2020 and was Jones’ QB2 last season.
Hoyer’s experience aside, this is a clear setback during a Patriots season themed around Jones’ development. This will be Jones’ first missed start as a pro. The former national championship-winning QB sustained his injury on the final play of the Patriots’ loss to the Ravens; Jones was unable to put any weight on his injured leg after the malady occurred. Despite seeking out a second opinion this week, Jones will be shelved.
A multigame Jones absence would stand to affect the Pats’ preparations going forward; they face the Lions in Week 5 and the Browns in Week 6. Hoyer struggles would open the door to rookie Bailey Zappe, who is coming off a record-setting season (62 touchdown passes) at Western Kentucky. There are no quarterbacks on New England’s practice squad.
September 30th, 2022 at 1:19pm CST by Sam Robinson
As we exit September, trade rumors will become a steady NFL topic. This year’s deadline falls on Nov. 1. That will return cap-space discussions to the forefront. Here is how every team stacks up financially going into October, via Over The Cap.
Cleveland Browns: $35.94MM
Philadelphia Eagles: $10.89MM
Denver Broncos: $10.67MM
Carolina Panthers: $10.47MM
Las Vegas Raiders: $10.35MM
Dallas Cowboys: $9.25MM
Pittsburgh Steelers: $8.64MM
Green Bay Packers: $8.57MM
Indianapolis Colts: $7.97MM
Atlanta Falcons: $7.92MM
New York Jets: $6.97MM
Chicago Bears: $6.84MM
San Francisco 49ers: $6.75MM
Miami Dolphins: $6.51MM
Arizona Cardinals: $6.25MM
Los Angeles Chargers: $5.83MM
New York Giants: $5.49MM
Jacksonville Jaguars: $5.41MM
Los Angeles Rams: $5.38MM
Baltimore Ravens: $4.51MM
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $3.87MM
New England Patriots: $3.5MM
Cincinnati Bengals: $3.16MM
New Orleans Saints: $2.86MM
Detroit Lions: $2.64MM
Washington Commanders: $2.58MM
Buffalo Bills: $2.44MM
Tennessee Titans: $2.41MM
Seattle Seahawks: $2.28MM
Kansas City Chiefs: $2.12MM
Houston Texans: $1.64MM
Minnesota Vikings: $1.47MM
The Eagles’ number is certainly far closer to the Vikings’ last-place figure than what the Browns have stockpiled. Cleveland would stand to have room to augment its 2022 roster, via a patient free agent or a trade. That could depend on where Jacoby Brissett has the team stationed going into the Nov. 1 deadline. But the Browns also appear to be preparing for their Deshaun Watson future. Watson’s unprecedented contract spikes from a $9.4MM cap number (2022) to a record-shattering $54.99MM numbers from 2023-26. As that reality awaits, the Browns rolling over cap space to 2023 would be prudent.
With Sterling Shepard‘s ACL tear moving the veteran wide receiver to IR, the Giants will need to both cover that cost ($6.3MM) and add a contract to fill the roster spot. Every team will go through versions of that issue this season, as injuries pile up. The Giants are prepared to eat a significant chunk ofKenny Golladay‘s 2022 base salary ($13MM) to move him, eyeing an escape from his $4.5MM 2023 guarantee. No takers have emerged, though it will be interesting to see if a market for the former Pro Bowler forms once injuries affect more teams’ receiver situations.
Patriots quarterback Mac Joneshas decided to seek a second opinion on his high ankle sprain, according to Mike Giardi of NFL Network. After sustaining the injury on the final offensive play of the team’s loss to the Ravens this week, Jones underwent an MRI to determine the severity of the sprain. It is expected, with the resulting diagnosis, that Jones will have to miss some time.
Jones will go to Dr. Martin O’Malley of the New York Hospital for Special Surgery. O’Malley is the team orthopedist for the Brooklyn Nets, the Team Physician for USA Basketball and Iona University Athletics, and the foot and ankle consultant for the Giants and the New York City Ballet. He notably worked recently on cornerback J.C. Jackson‘s ankle surgery, as well as basketball star Kevin Durant’s Achilles surgery in 2019.
Here’s a few more injury rumors from around the league, starting with an update on one of the Jets’ top defenders:
Jets linebacker Quincy Williams has also been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. Williams’ high ankle sprain appears to be a bit less severe than Jones’, as head coach Robert Saleh reported that Williams is currently week-to-week.
Buccaneers wide receiver Julio Joneswas reportedly a game-time decision to play this past weekend, but ended up spending the game on the sideline. It appears that Jones could have contributed, but Tampa Bay decided to hold him out, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic. Head coach Todd Bowles broke the news, saying, “I just know he could have played (but) we held him out. We want to make sure he’s healthy and he’ll probably be back out there next week.”
Fantasy football managers of Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey have resumed sweating. The star weapon for Carolina missed practice today with a thigh injury. According to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports, the injury has caused a bit of concern for the Panthers, more so than the “previous nicks” that have been reported throughout the season. He’s been able to play through every injury so far this year, but Jones makes it seem like his Week 4 status could be in jeopardy. McCaffrey hasn’t played in all of Carolina’s regular season games since 2019, appearing in 13 games total during the three seasons since. Rumors of an injury being “concerning” is the last thing the Panthers want to hear about McCaffrey. Chuba Hubbard is likely to fill McCaffrey’s role for any potentially missed time, while D’Onta Foreman would serve as the primary backup.