Browns reportedly breaking the bank to keep their top free agent

The Cleveland Browns are breaking the bank to keep their top free agent, Jamie Collins, according to multiple reports, and will make him the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL.

Coach Hue Jackson and the Browns indicated that keeping Collins, who was acquired in a midseason trade with the Patriots, was an offseason priority, and they reportedly will give him more than the $12.36 million per year that Carolina’s Luke Kuechly makes.

Collins was third on the Browns with 68 tackles and two sacks in eight games after getting 43 and one in seven games with the Pats. The 27-year-old out of Southern Mississippi had 248 tackles and 9.5 sacks in his first three years in New England. He’ll have a new defensive coordinator next season in Gregg Williams, who joined the Browns after three seasons with the Rams.

With Collins under contract, now the Browns can turn their focus to re-signing leading receiver Terrelle Pryor, their other top target. Keeping both Collins and Pryor would be a big step in the right direction for the Browns, who lost four players on the first day of free agency last year.