NFL: Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots are bringing a familiar face back to Foxborough. The club is expected to sign veteran linebacker Jamie Collins to a deal, according to ESPN. The actual avenue that leads Collins initially back on the Patriots, however, is still a bit unclear as the team could either elect to sign him to the active roster or bring him aboard via the practice squad. Regardless of the road, it'll lead to Collins back with the Patriots for his fourth stint with the franchise. 

The 32-year-old was drafted by New England in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Southern Miss. He spent his first three full seasons in the league with the Patriots and helped the club to a Super Bowl XLIX win over the Seahawks in 2014. During his fourth season in the league, the club shipped Collins to the Browns in the middle of the season, in what was one of the more shocking trades of Bill Belichick's tenure. 

After spending a handful of seasons in Cleveland, Collins was released in the spring of 2019 and eventually found his way back to the club for that coming season. Following that one-year reunion, he signed a three-year, $30 million deal with the Detroit Lions -- who were then led by Matt Patricia -- in March of 2020. That stint in Detroit lasted just a season-and-a-half and was released in the middle of the 2021 campaign and he'd eventually latch back on with the Patriots. 

in 122 career regular season games, Collins has totaled 706 tackles, 26.5 sacks, and 39 pass breakups. 

This move does give New England -- who just surrendered 5.7 yards per carry in the OT loss to Green Bay on Sunday -- some depth at the linebacker position with someone extremely familiar with their defense, so Collins should be up-and-running in relatively short order.