Though some believed he could be drafted today, former LSU offensive lineman La’el Collins did ultimately go undrafted as he waits to speak with investigators next week regarding his involvement an ongoing murder case. However, Collins does intend to sign a contract once he is cleared, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, although that won’t come until Monday at the earliest, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
Collins is scheduled to speak with police on Monday, so interested teams obviously want to wait until that meeting is concluded before they move forward. Collins isn’t regarded as a suspect in the case, but it’s understandable that teams don’t want to take the risk until the matter is resolved. Though reports indicated that Collins wouldn’t sign with a contract unless he was drafted on Day Two, that could have just been posturing as Collins tried to force clubs to choose him yesterday.
Despite his attempt to be removed from this year’s draft, Collins wasn’t allowed to enter the supplemental draft, and though he may have aimed to enter the 2016 draft, we learned earlier today that that won’t be allowed either. No matter the outcome, the events of that past ffew days will have terrible consequences: either Collins was involved in a horrific incident, or he is innocent and lost millions of dollars due to unfortunate timing.
According to Connor Orr of NFL.com, the Giants were among the teams “thinking” about Collins during the draft, but scouting director Marc Ross says New York wasn’t going to take that type of risk. Additionally, the Bills GM Doug Whaley says his club won’t consider Collins as a UDFA, calling the entire situation “too cloudy” right now (Twitter link via Joe Buscaglia of WKBW).
As an undrafted free agent, Collins won’t be able earn the type of money he would have as a first-rounder, but as Florio writes in the piece above, Collins’ financial future may not be entirely dire. There are a number of benefits to signing a UDFA contract, including a shorter length of deal (three years as opposed to four), and the ability to renegotiate after just two years. Plus, even if RFA tender levels continue to rise at only their current five percent rate, Collins could end up making a significant amount of cash.