La'el Collins

NFC East Rumors: Cowboys, Giants, Guice

Dez Bryant remains on the Cowboys‘ roster, but a decision about his contract could come soon. Jason Garrett said Sunday night he has not yet met with Bryant and doesn’t know if Jerry Jones has either this offseason, per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. While Garrett was concise in his Bryant response, Williams writes that a Bryant decision — one that recently was said to lack a clear timetable — sounds like it’s coming soon. Garrett wants this resolved quickly, per Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter).

I have not met with Dez,” Garrett said at an event earlier tonight. “Dez is on our football team, and again, we talked about some of the moves we made at the receiver position, and they’re designed to create competition there. We think that’s going to help everybody on our team.”

Obviously not a firm commitment to the player that’s been the team’s No. 1 wide receiver for most of this decade, the Cowboys are hesitant about paying Bryant $12.5MM in base salary this season. He’s due to count $16.5MM toward Dallas’ cap. The Cowboys added both Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson this offseason and have Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley on the roster as well. Jones indicated the draft is also a possibility, and Williams writes the Cowboys have shown interest in Calvin Ridley and SMU’s Courtland Sutton. Each was on the team’s pre-draft visit list, as was Maryland’s D.J. Moore. The Cowboys are scheduled to convene for their offseason program April 16.

Here’s more out of Dallas and the latest from elsewhere in the NFC East.

  • La’el Collins changed positions during the 2017 offseason, and it looks like the Cowboys aren’t going to shift him away from him second NFL spot just yet. But the team did sign Cameron Fleming this offseason. Collins said Sunday night, via Hill (on Twitter) he will remain at right tackle. While adding the caveat that he would move back to guard if the team wanted him to, in a possible best-five-linemen scenario where he returns to left guard and Fleming takes his right tackle spot, his focus heading into his fourth season will be improving as a tackle.
  • Saquon Barkley and Baker Mayfield dined with Giants brass on Sunday night and both will spend Monday meeting with the team’s coaching staff and front office personnel, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. Both the Penn State running back and Oklahoma quarterback are among a high-profile contingent traveling to the Big Apple, joining Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen in that regard. Schwartz no longer expects the team to draft a quarterback at No. 2, which would put Barkley and Bradley Chubb in play there. A trade-down scenario for Quenton Nelson may also be under consideration.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. taking the step of pledging he’ll attend Day 1 of the Giants’ offseason program is important for the parties’ potential long-term agreement, Ralph Vacchiano of writes. But Vacchiano adds Beckham’s gesture may be a symbolic one, with the superstar wideout possibly opting to work out in Los Angeles soon. He’s still recovering from a fractured ankle and remains without a timetable for a field return.
  • The Redskins like Derrius Guice, Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington notes, but Jay Gruden was somewhat dismissive of an early-round running back choice at the most recent league meetings. However, the fifth-year coach — perhaps in full-smokescreen mode — said he would like to add possibly a between-the-tackles runner this offseason. Like Leonard Fournette before him, Guice (32 receptions while at LSU) qualifies as such. Washington doesn’t hold a third-round pick because of its Alex Smith trade, so the team would have to be fairly serious about a backfield upgrade if it selects a ball-carrier before Draft Saturday. Guice is a projected first-round pick whose only known visit has been with the Ravens.

Cowboys Adjust OL La’el Collins’ Contract

The Cowboys have adjusted offensive lineman La’el Collins‘ contract in order to create additional cap space, according to Field Yates of (Twitter link).La'el Collins (vertical)

Collins will see $500K of his salary for the 2018 season converted into a signing bonus, allowing Dallas to spread that amount out over the next two years. It’s a small deal, and one that will only create $250K in extra cap room. But it’s a transaction that makes sense for the Cowboys, who rank in the bottom half of the NFL with about $18.6MM in reserves.

For Dallas, the move doesn’t carry much additional risk, as Collins is a near certainty to be on the team’s roster through 2019. Collins, 24, was projected as a first-round pick in the 2015 draft before his being linked to a murder investigation — one in which he was fully cleared — caused his stock to tumble. He eventually latched with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent, and inked an extension last summer that will keep him under contract through 2019.

Collins played guard during his first two seasons in the NFL, but was transferred back to his natural tackle position following Doug Free‘s retirement prior to the 2017 campaign. Last year, Pro Football Focus graded Collins as the No. 56 tackle among 83 qualifiers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Notes: Whitehead, Lewis, Collins

Lucky Whitehead was unfortunately waived by the Cowboys following a case of mistaken identity, but the receiver/special-teamer had run afoul of club rules before, according to Albert Breer of (Twitter link). Whitehead had been accused of being “flighty with the truth,” and was “unaccountable” with the Dallas’ coaching staff. Last year, for instance, Whitehead reportedly slept through a Saturday walkthrough and was left home for a game against the Giants. While Whitehead certainly could have had his issues off the field, it’s also possible the Cowboys are leaking negative information on Whitehead given that it was their lack of follow-up that resulted in Whitehead’s release.

Here’s more on Whitehead and the rest of the Cowboys’ roster:

  • The NFLPA is conducting an investigation into Whitehead’s ouster and before it decides whether to take further action, as Ed Werder tweets. Whitehead, for his part, is understandably angry about how the situation played out, writes Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “Let’s not sugarcoat anything,” Whitehead said. “I was pretty much being called a liar.” Now on waivers, Whitehead can be claimed by any of the other 31 NFL teams between now and tomorrow.
  • A Michigan jury has found Cowboys third-round corner Jourdan Lewis not guilty on both domestic violence and assault/battery counts, reports Michael Rothstein of Viewed as one of the top slot cornerback prospects in this year’s draft, Lewis fell to the 92nd overall selection following an alleged March altercation with his girlfriend. Now cleared, Lewis should be able to report to camp and compete for sub package snaps.
  • As part of his two-year, $15.4MM extension, offensive lineman La’el Collins will receive a $4MM signing bonus and $9.5MM fully guaranteed overall, according to Todd Archer of Collins will earn base salaries of $1MM and $4.5MM in 2017 and 2018, respectively. In 2019, Collins’ base salary is $6MM, but can increase to $8.5MM if he plays at least 85% of Dallas’ offensive snaps in each of the next two campaigns, per Archer.
  • Dallas defensive end David Irving offered an explanation for his four-game PED suspension today, blaming the ban on a “hidden ingredient” in a workout drink, per Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News“I started taking it after the season when you’re not working out with the team, you know, something to get my a– in the gym,” said Irving. “It’s funny, I thought I was hitting a second puberty.” Irving, 23, appeared in 15 games for Dallas last season and developed into a serviceable pass rusher, especially near the end of the year. All told, he managed four sacks and 17 tackles while grading as the league’s No. 29 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus
  • Offensive lineman Byron Bell earned his second $150K bonus of the offseason by making weight on the first day of Cowboys training camp, reports Archer. Bell scored the same weight bonus when minicamp began, and will collect a third bonus during the first week of the regular season. Signed to a one-year deal in March, Bell will also earn a $1MM base salary, a $250K signing bonus, and $300K in per-game roster bonuses. The 28-year-old is in contention to serve as the top reserve lineman on one of the league’s best front fives.

Cowboys, La’el Collins Agree To Extension

The Cowboys and offensive lineman La’el Collins have reached agreement on a new deal. It’s a two-year, $15.4MM extension that will keep him in place through the 2019 season, a source tells Mike Garafolo of (on Twitter). La'el Collins (vertical)

Collins would have been a restricted free agent following the 2017 season. With the new contract, Collins has traded in that one RFA year plus his first year of scheduled unrestricted free agency. The Cowboys theoretically could have controlled Collins through the 2019 season with the franchise tag, but by extending him now, they have given themselves cost certainty while leaving the tag available for another star player.

The new deal gives Collins a $7.7MM average annual salary in the additional two seasons, which currently would represent the second-highest AAV of any right tackle in the NFL.

Collins was expected to be a first round pick and potential top ten pick in the 2015 draft. However, he went undrafted after he was linked to the shooting death of a pregnant woman and his agent that he would hold out if he were selected beyond the third round. Once he was cleared of any wrongdoing, he signed with the Cowboys on a modest three-year contract worth roughly $1.6MM. Collins’ new contract will him like a first round pick and reflects the tremendous production he has provided at the professional level.

Collins excelled at left guard as a rookie and was slated to hold down the position again in 2016 before a foot injury ended his season after three games. This year, the 6’5″ lineman will be shifting over to right tackle. It’s a return to Collins’ roots as he started at left tackle for LSU in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: OBJ, Rodgers, E. Decker, Lions

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday morning that Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been away from OTAs because he wants a new contract. That isn’t the case, according to The Record’s Art Stapleton, as a source told him that Beckham’s absence amounts to nothing more than a player exercising his right to skip voluntary workouts. Regardless of where the truth lies, the Giants are motivated to keep the 24-year-old superstar for the long haul. Contract negotiations haven’t begun yet, co-owner John Mara revealed Tuesday, but he added, “Obviously we want him to be a Giant for the rest of his career.”

More from the NFC:

  • Even though he has fallen to fifth among quarterbacks in average yearly salary ($20MM), the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers isn’t pushing for a raise. At the same time, the 33-year-old realizes a contract extension might be around the corner. “Well, that stuff usually takes care of itself, and I have a fantastic agent, he does a great job. He worries about that stuff,” Rodgers said Tuesday (via Rob Demovsky of “When it comes to setting the market values, I let that stuff take care of itself. I know my value in this league, and I know the team appreciates me. I’m going to continue to make myself an indispensable part of this roster. When you do that, when your time comes up to get a contract, you usually get a contract extension.” With his deal on track to expire after the 2019 season, extension talks between the Packers and Rodgers could begin soon, observes the Associated Press, which notes that cap room won’t be an issue for the club when it comes to locking up the two-time MVP.
  • With Eric Decker‘s Jets tenure on the verge of ending, the Lions would be wise to add the receiver, opines Michael Rothstein of Decker’s history of quality production would continue as part of Detroit’s Matthew Stafford-led offense, argues Rothstein, who points out that Decker is familiar with coordinator Jim Bob Cooter from their time together in Denver in 2013. Further, given that the Lions only found the end zone 54.2 percent of the time in the red zone last year, acquiring the tall, touchdown-scoring Decker would be a boon. Of course, the Lions might have to win a bidding war for Decker, which isn’t a guarantee considering they’re toward the bottom of the league in cap space (just over $9MM).
  • With La’el Collins moving from left guard to right tackle, the Cowboys will need someone to take over his previous position. That could be tackle Chaz Green, who has been working as the Cowboys’ first-team left guard during OTAs, according to Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. Green, whom injuries have limited to four appearances in two seasons, told George that the Cowboys approached him about changing positions last week. The 2015 third-round pick is embracing the move, saying: “It’s an opportunity with the ones [first team]. I don’t care where I am. I just want to put my best foot forward and show that I cannot drop off when I’m out there and better yet help the team when I’m out there.”

NFC Notes: Hawks, Giants, Eagles, Cowboys

ESPN’s Seth Wickersham reported Thursday that Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has been holding a grudge against both quarterback Russell Wilson and head coach Pete Caroll since the team’s devastating Super Bowl XLIX loss to the Patriots in 2015. But Sherman and defensive end Michael Bennett insist that’s not true (via Kevin Patra of “It’s just a bunch of nonsense from ‘anonymous’ sources. Can never put much gravity of things like that,” said Sherman, who, according to Wickersham, “allowed himself to imagine playing for the Cowboys” when Seattle placed him on the trade block earlier this spring. Bennett, meanwhile, dismissed the article as “trash” and “all gossip.”

The latest from the NFC East…

  • In an interview with 105.1 FM in New York on Thursday, now-Bears wide receiver Victor Cruz implied that the Giants didn’t involve him in their offense more last year because they knew they’d release him in the offseason (per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY). “Halfway through the year, you’re like, ‘OK, I’m balling,’ and then the other half I’m not getting the ball,” he said. “And you’re just like, ‘What’s going on?’ It was like, ‘OK, I see what’s happening. They don’t want me here anymore.’” Continued Cruz, who caught 39 of 72 targets in 2016: “If I played well, they owed me a ton of money that next year. So it was like, ‘let’s get Cruz off the books.'” Unsurprisingly, head coach Ben McAdoo refuted Cruz’s claims, telling reporters that “there is no accuracy” to the wideout’s theory (via Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today).
  • Cutting receiver Nelson Agholor would cost the Eagles more money than they’d save ($4.68MM versus $2.56MM), but his roster spot nonetheless looks to be in jeopardy, writes Andrew Kulp of Philadelphia signed two proven receivers in March, Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, to join Jordan Matthews, which could further marginalize Agholor. A first-round pick just two years ago, Agholor caught only 59 of 114 targets and three touchdowns from 2015-16.
  • It continues to look as though Cowboys offensive lineman La’el Collins will move to right tackle after functioning as a left guard during his first two seasons. Collins has lined up solely at right tackle during organized team activities this week and will likely continue to do so leading up to the season, according to Kate Hairopoulos and Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. The position opened up in Dallas when starter Doug Free retired earlier this offseason, and if Collins fills it, either Jonathan Cooper or Emmett Cleary could take over at left guard, per Hairopoulos and George.

Cowboys To Move La’el Collins To RT?

Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones said multiple times this offseason La’el Collins was an option at right tackle for the Cowboys, and the third-year player may be ready to make a move outside. Collins said, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter) he has worked mostly at right tackle for the Cowboys this offseason.

Jones said last month that Collins, who has been the primary starter at left guard when healthy during his career, could be used out there in an emergency. But thus far, Collins has worked “solely” at right tackle, Todd Archer of notes (via Twitter). Cowboys coaches told Collins to get ready for work at right tackle, according to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter).

I’ll be real clear here, our first preference … is to have him play guard,” Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News, last month. “But we also know that if there’s a guy on our team who might have that flexibility to move out to tackle, then he certainly has that skill set.”

Collins was a full-time starter at left tackle at LSU during the 2013 and ’14 seasons, moving out there after playing at left guard for the Tigers in 2012. With the Cowboys, Collins usurped the since-departed Ronald Leary at left guard as a rookie in 2015 and began last season there. However, a foot injury ended Collins’ season after just three games. Leary also performed better after reclaiming the job. Collins did not come off Dallas’ IR after rumors pointed to that being in play.

The Cowboys obviously will have a change at right tackle after longtime starter Doug Free opted to retire. They signed Byron Bell in the offseason and still have 2015 third-round pick Chaz Green on the roster. Inside, Dallas houses Joe Looney and Jonathan Cooper. The Cowboys re-signed the former top-10 pick to a one-year deal in March.

It’s possible the team is simply preparing the 23-year-old Collins for work at tackle should a situation arise, but there’s a lot to suggest a relocation may be coming for the 6-foot-5 lineman. A position switch would be notable on arguably the game’s premier offensive line, particularly after the Cowboys lost two starters this offseason. Due to his UDFA background, Collins is also entering a contract year, making positional versatility a potential boon to his value.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Collins, Eagles

The Cowboys are leaning toward activating left guard La’el Collins from injured reserve instead of rookie defensive end Charles Tapper, Brandon George of the Dallas News writes. No final decision has been made, however. Collins was meant to be the Cowboys’ starting left guard this year, but he has been out since Week 3 with a toe injury and was forced to undergo surgery. Fortunately, Dallas has been able to lean on Ronald Leary in his absence.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

Extra Points: Gronk, Cowboys, Draft, Lions

The Patriots and the family of Rob Gronkowski confirmed in a statement Thursday that the tight end will undergo back surgery Friday. The hope earlier Thursday was that Gronkowski would return during the playoffs, but that’s now in doubt. “We do not expect that he will be able to play for the remainder of the 2016 season, but will await the results of tomorrow’s surgery before making a final determination,” said the two parties (Twitter link).

More from around the NFL:

  • The Cowboys expect second-year guard La’el Collins back in late December or in time for the playoffs, according to Ian Rapoport of (via Twitter). Collins has been on injured reserve since tearing a ligament in his right big toe in Week 3. Replacement Ronald Leary has been excellent as a fill-in, with Pro Football Focus ranking him 16th out of 80 qualifying guards this year.
  • If Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers goes the expected route and enters next year’s draft, he’ll be a top-10 pick, two NFL teams told Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (video link). Peppers would likely line up at safety in the pros, says Miller, who likens his playing style to that of Giants star Landon Collins.
  • Both Missouri junior defensive end Charles Harris and Akron junior wide receiver Jerome Lane Jr. will enter the draft (links via Chase Goodbread of and Zac Jackson of Pro Football Talk). Harris, who has amassed 30.5 tackles for loss and 16 sacks since 2015, has a first-round projection from The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Lane is a former linebacker who registered 62 catches, 1,018 yards and six touchdowns in 2016.
  • The NFL is reportedly progressing toward introducing a developmental league, but Saints head coach Sean Payton is against the idea. “I’m not in favor of the developmental league. I think you’re going to see an increased number of practice squad players,” he told Nick Underhill of The Advocate (Twitter link).
  • The Lions worked out linebacker Myke Tavarres on Thursday, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets. The undrafted free agent from Incarnate Word has been out of work since failing to make the Eagles’ final roster Sept. 3.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Cowboys G La’el Collins To Have Surgery

Cowboys left guard La’el Collins will undergo toe surgery today to repair a ligament tear in his right big toe and will be placed on injured reserve, according to sources who spoke with Todd Archer of (on Twitter). Dallas was hoping that Collins would not require surgery, but it was determined to be the best course of action after meeting with three different specialists, as Mike Garafolo of tweetsLa'el Collins (vertical)

Previous reports indicated that surgery would mean up to a 12-week absence for the second-year lineman. After the surgery is performed, we should have a better idea of Collins’ timetable. Under the league’s new IR rules for 2016, Collins could theoretically return to practice after six weeks and play in eight weeks. Teams may only bring one player back from IR each season, however.

Since Collins went down earlier this year, Ronald Leary has replaced him in the starting lineup. Leary wanted out of Dallas this offseason, but the Cowboys are glad they held on to him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.