Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have never been afraid to make surprising trades, and that became even more evident on Monday.
As first reported by ESPN, the Patriots are trading star linebacker Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns for a compensatory third-round pick.
Collins has played seven games this season, recording 43 tackles, one sack, two interceptions and a forced fumble. He's arguably New England's best defensive player and can do it all -- rush the passer, drop back in coverage and stuff running backs in the hole.
He'll be a free agent after this season and figures to be paid like a top linebacker, which is part of the reason New England was open to trading him. The Patriots have several key players to pay in the offseason -- Jabaal Sheard, Martellus Bennett, Dont'a Hightower, Sebastian Vollmer -- and they didn't see Collins signing long-term.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, contract talks were "going nowhere."
Regardless of the looming contract dispute in the upcoming free agency period, the trade is still unbelievably shocking. The Patriots now have a serious void to fill at linebacker.