Fanene remembers 2010 injury vs. Patriots


Fanene remembers 2010 injury vs. Patriots

Call it irony that Jonathan Fanene is a member of the New England Patriots.

It started back in 2010, when Fanene was due to have a breakout season. He had just come off the best season of his career in 2009 16 games, 10 starts, 36 combined tackles, six sacks, and one interception and was due a new contract at the end of this one.

Unfortunately for Fanene, it ended almost as soon as it began.

The Bengals played the Patriots in Week 1 of the regular season. It was early in the second quarter when Tom Brady dropped back looking for Randy Moss deep down the sideline. Fanene, though, was trying to get to Brady first but had to get past Matt Light. He made his move, his last one of the game.

I remember it was like the third series, Fanene said. I was going against Matt Light. When I came around the corner I felt something strained. I knew something was wrong, so I just stopped and I came out.

It was his hamstring. Fanene didnt return to that game, or any game, until Week 7 against the Falcons, where he re-aggravated the same injury. Three weeks later, he landed on the IR, his season over.

Because of the injury, Fanene didnt get a ton of offers after the season, and ended up signing back with the Bengals on a one-year deal. After a healthy season, but one in which his playing time was reduced, Fanene found a new home with the very same team that essentially ruined his 2010 campaign, the Patriots.

Its funny. I never expected to be here, Fanene said. But like I said, Im going to be the best I can be to help out and win games this year.

Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl


Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl

NFL Siberia can’t be all that bad. The Cleveland Browns have signed Jamie Collins to an extension that keeps him off the free agent market.

The former Patriot, stunningly shipped out of town on Halloween, has agreed to a reported four-year, $50 million deal with $26M in guaranteed money.

As eyebrow-raising as the move was at the time, this is an all’s well that ends well story.

Collins, a reluctant Patriot once it came clear the team wouldn’t to aim a confetti cannon of money at him, gets the desired big-dough deal. He didn’t drape himself in glory with his level of play this year in New England, but his agitation over making $900K this year was understandable.

The Patriots -- who made the deal not knowing exactly how it would work out with Collins’ fleet of replacements (primarily rookie Elandon Roberts and, October acquisition Kyle Van Noy) -- have played better defense since Collins has been gone and are headed to the Super Bowl.

Would they have been better if Collins stayed? The answer to that is a question: Which version of Collins, the irked one or the motivated one?

Collins did nothing to veil his desire for a huge contract, saying at the end of the season he’d stay with the hapless Browns if the money was right. Now that he’s decided the money was right, what kind of Collins will the Browns get? With $26M guaranteed, the Browns have tethered themselves to the 27-year-old Collins for a chunk of his prime. The shorter term is ideal for Collins because -- if he performs to his capability -- he’ll be able to see another lucrative deal before he’s too aged.

The deal will certainly be noticed by Collins’ former teammates, primarily Donta Hightower who will be a free agent at the end of the season.

The Patriots could franchise Hightower (last year’s tag number was more than $14M) but that’s not going to be ideal for either side. Hightower will want to get the windfall of guaranteed money that comes with a long-term deal and the Patriots may be reluctant to pay that much to a player that’s got an injury history and plays one of the game’s most violent positions.

A lot’s going to happen between now and the time the Patriots have to make their decision. A good deal of it will happen in the next 12 days. If Hightower stealthily saves the Super Bowl as he did in 2014 with his first-down tackle on Marshawn Lynch … how do you put a price on that?