The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday afternoon and the Patriots are in first place. But it looks like, at least in their most recent dealings, they'll be sellers.

The Pats have agreed to send linebacker Jamie Collins to Cleveland in exchange for a compensatory third round draft pick. Adam Schefter confirmed the reports just after noon Monday.

Collins is a fourth-year pro and made the Pro Bowl for the first time last season. In seven games for the this season he had 43 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble. He sat out Week 6 with an injury.

The Pats are being proactive with this trade, trying to minimize the damage that could ensue when New England and Collins are inevitably unable to reach a deal in the offseason when he becomes a free agent.

The franchise tag at linebacker would be near $15 million next season, so essentially the Pats are getting something for him before he walks — and admitting that price is too high.