Conventional wisdom says the New England Patriots should maximize their championship window while the end draws near for 39-year-old quarterback Tom Brady. But instead of trying to add the final piece to their Super Bowl puzzle at the trade deadline, New England shipped dynamic linebacker Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns for a 2017 third-round pick Monday.
Of course, conventional wisdom does not apply to New England in the era of Brady and coach Bill Belichick. The Patriots were the ones trading dynamic pass-rusher Chandler Jones to Arizona before the season -- a move widely seen as the Cardinals adding the one piece they needed to get over the top. The one-move-away approach to team building rarely works out as planned because so many other variables change from year to year.
Trading away Collins could backfire on New England, but there are quite a few short- and long-term reasons this move could provide the latest evidence of the Patriots being two steps ahead of the game.