New England brought the veteran linebacker back into the fold."WhitePatriots News Opinion and Analysis Contribute! FanPostsFanShotsAbout the Site List of Patriots Twitter AccountsWrite For Pats Pulpit!New User Welcome and Commenting GuideCommunity GuidelinesMastheadTopics Patriots Off-Season CoveragePatriots Opinion/AnalysisPatriots NewsPatriots Draft CoverageSportfolio ManagementNFL Free AgencyPatriots Opinion/AnalysisPatriots Free Agency CoverageWhat re-signing linebacker Jamie Collins means for the PatriotsNew Lawrence Guy Jerseys 2019 ,124commentsRead more: Patriots re-sign linebacker Jamie CollinsEDTShareTweetShareShareWhat re-signing linebacker Jamie Collins means for the PatriotsKevin Jairaj-USA TODAY SportsEarlier today, the New England Patriots brought a familiar face back into the fold: the team reportedly re-signed linebacker Jamie Collins, who started his NFL career as a Patriots second-round draft pick in 2013 and appeared in a combined 57 regular season and playoff games for the club. After two and a half years with the Cleveland Browns, Collins now returns to the team with which he won the Super Bowl in 2014.Let’s find out what adding the 29-year-old means, especially for a Patriots defense that appears to be pretty deep at this point in time.New England has a plan in mind for CollinsDuring his first stint in New England, the Patriots used Collins in various ways to take advantage of his outstanding athletic skills: he rushed the passer, he dropped into coverage against tight ends, he aligned on the strong side and the weak side of the formation. It remains to be seen whether or not the Patriots will employ him in similar fashion now, but one thing seems certain: they do have a plan for him in mind and think his presence could improve the defense White Rex Burkhead Jerseys , or otherwise Collins would not have been brought back.Collins gives the Patriots flexibilityNew England has a versatile group of linebackers under contract: Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy are jack-of-all-trade options capable of playing on the line and in space, Elandon Roberts improved noticeably as a coverage defender in 2018, and Ja’Whaun Bentley showed promise both against the run and the pass last year. Adding Collins to this group gives the Patriots defense even more flexibility given his own versatility: he adds depth and experience behind top options Hightower and Van Noy, and takes pressure off Bentley coming back from a season-ending biceps injury.Jerod Mayo and the Patriots defense get a familiar face to work withThe Patriots’ new inside linebackers coach knows his team’s latest signing pretty well: Mayo and Collins played alongside each other from 2013 to 2015, which means that the former should have a pretty clear picture of the latter’s strengths and weaknesses — and how to best work with them. In general, Collins is an experienced option after having appeared in 57 games for New England before he was shipped off to Cleveland midway through the 2016 season. He should be able to get up to speed rather quickly given his familiarity with the scheme and its terminology.The salary cap likely won’t be impacted too muchWhen the Browns signed Collins to a four-year, $50 million contract in early 2017, they paid top dollar for one of the NFL’s most intriguing linebackers. Since then, Collins’ status has changed quite a bit: after two inconsistent and injury-riddled years in Cleveland Rex Burkhead Jerseys 2019 , he spent more than two months on the open market before getting picked up by the Patriots. Needless to say that the team likely did not overpay to get its hands on its former second-round investment once again.Last year’s trade rumors were not unfoundedAhead of last year’s trade deadline, The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported that the Patriots were having internal discussions about potentially re-acquiring Jamie Collins from the Browns. Those talks did obviously not reach a point at which the club felt prompted to pull the trigger. However, today’s news pretty much confirms Howe’s report from last October — and that the Patriots have had their eyes on Collins for quite some time now.The Patriots will need to make a corresponding roster moveAs things stand right now, the Patriots have a full offseason roster: 90 men are under contract with the club, which means that it will need to make a corresponding move once Collins officially gets brought back. There are plenty of candidates to get the axe in favor of the veteran linebacker — from undrafted rookie signings like offensive linemen Tyree St. Louis or Tyler Gauthier to depth linebacker Calvin Munson.Collins is no roster lockWhile Collins is a big-name player, his status on the team will likely be a volatile one: New England is pretty strong at linebacker even without him in the fold, so the one-time Pro Bowler will need to earn his role on the team — especially considering that the Patriots’ financial commitments will likely be limited. Collins certainly has value to the organization in its own eyes, but if he fails to justify the trust put in him by Bill Belichick and company it will not be a surprise to see the club move on from him again. Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Monday. A full Sports Digest will be sent by about 3 p.m. All times EDT: – NEW YORK – The U.S. Open begins with five-time major champion Maria Sharapova playing Simona Halep. Sharapova, a wild card White Adam Butler Jerseys , returned to tennis this year after a 15-month doping ban. – FRISCO, Texas – J.J. Watt and the Texans are to work out at the Cowboys’ practice facility because of floods pounding Houston. The team’s Thursday exhibition game might shift to Dallas. – CINCINNATI – Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is suspended by the NFL for five games for leveling a Kansas City running back in an exhibition game. Burfict is appealing. – FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The Patriots are still absorbing the impact of the season-ending knee injury to Tom Brady’s favorite target, Julian Edelman. – Two division preview stories as part of the preseason NFL package: AFC East, NFC East. – MIAMI – Giancarlo Stanton is on a home run binge – the first NL player in a decade to reach 50 – but he’s also smacking singles at the best rate of his career. – MINNEAPOLIS – The Twins have a surprising hold on the AL’s second wild-card spot, and 44-year-old pitcher Bartolo Colon has proved an important part of this surge. – NEW YORK – In an All-Star pitching matchup, the Yankees’ Luis Severino (11-5) faces Cleveland’s Corey Kluber (12-4) in a game between playoff contenders. Game starts 7:05 p.m. – BALTIMORE – The Orioles are on a four-game winning streak and open a series against Seattle, with both teams are part of the crowded AL wild-card chase. Game starts 7:05 p.m. – TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State don’t shy away from big games out the gate – and they’re gearing up for a really big one now. They play Saturday in Atlanta. – CLEMSON Adam Butler Jerseys 2019 , S.C. – Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has spent months on this – drilling the good feelings of a national title out of the No. 5 Tigers heading into the season. – SEATTLE – This time a year ago, Washington was all about potential. When the No. 8 Huskies open Friday at Rutgers, they’ll be carrying the expectations of Pac-12 North favorites. – WHIPPANY, N.J. – The U.S. soccer team practices for a World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica on Friday in Harrison, N.J. The U.S. is third in its group in the final round of qualifying.