The Patriots pulled off their second reunion in as many weeks, signing linebacker Jamie Collins, a league source confirmed Wednesday. He started 41 of 50 games in New England and all 30 contests of his tenure with the Browns.
Collins would have been owed $10 million in 2019 before the Browns released him.
The 29-year-old Collins was selected 52nd overall by the Patriots in the 2013 National Football League draft.
The Collins signing comes a week after veteran tight end Ben Watson agreed to return for a second tour of duty in New England. His 104 tackles would have ranked first on the Patriots last season.
He will now join Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts, Ja'Whaun Bentley, Brandon King, Shilique Calhoun, Christian Sam, Calvin Munson and Terez Hall on the Patriots' linebacker depth chart. He continued to show the versatility he displayed in New England, where they developed him into an outside linebacker after he spent time as a defensive lineman, outside linebacker and safety at Southern Mississippi. There were reports that Collins was freelancing a little too much on defense and he didn't hide his desires to get paid that offseason, and was sent to Cleveland ahead of the 2016 trade deadline.