Landon Collins

NFC Notes: Collins, Giants, Chancellor, Seahawks, Panthers

In a recent column, Geoff Mosher of Thescore.com talked about Giants All-Pro safety Landon Collins, how he’ll adjust to new defensive coordinator James Bettcher‘s scheme, and how it might impact Collins’ potential contract extension.

Mosher writes that since Bettcher blitzes heavily, his scheme will require Collins to play a lot of man coverage, something that isn’t his strong suit. Mosher opines that the Giants may decide Collins isn’t as impactful as he once was in the new scheme, and that they don’t want to pay him top-safety dollar, around $12-13MM annually, when his contract expires after this year.

Mosher notes that the Giants will want to see how Collins adapts to the change in his role throughout the offseason but says “the longer the Giants wait, the more they risk Collins opting to test free agency.” It’ll be interesting to watch how this plays out, and if the Giants opt not to lock Collins up, he’ll be one of the biggest names on the market in March of 2019.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • The Seahawks “don’t appear to be counting” on Kam Chancellor to play this season, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Chancellor has insisted that he wants to play, but Condotta doesn’t think doctors will be able to clear Chancellor from his neck injury. The Seahawks have already lost many pieces of their formerly legendary defense, and it looks like Chancellor will be the next to go, as Condotta notes the Seahawks have already made “aggressive” moves to replace Chancellor at safety.
  • Wide receiver D.J. Moore, the 24th overall pick by the Panthers, still hasn’t signed. He’s likely holding out for all four years of his contract to be guaranteed, writes Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Person thinks Moore is waiting to see what Isaiah Wynn, taken one pick before Moore, gets from the Patriots before signing his deal.
  • Person thinks locking up offensive tackle Daryl Williams to an extension is a “priority” for the team. Person writes that he’d “be mildly surprised if general manager Marty Hurney doesn’t get a deal done by the start of the season” for the top-flight tackle who played every offensive snap for the team last season.

East Rumors: Collins, Fins, Bills, Lauvao

Landon Collins has yet to practice with the Giants this offseason. He underwent a second surgery on the forearm he broke late last season. The latest operation delayed the fourth-year safety’s timetable, but he’s hoping to be back on the field in time for Giants minicamp next month, Tom Rock of Newsday notes. Collins expects to be cleared in a few weeks, per Rock. It’s possible the Giants could hold him out until training camp, with the standout defender having essentially nothing to prove in June workouts, but the holdover Giant defenders are adjusting to James Bettcher‘s new scheme. That makes OTAs and minicamp more important than they were a year ago. However, Collins said he’s running currently and will push the new coaching staff to let him work with his teammates in a few weeks.

Here’s the latest from the East divisions:

  • Raekwon McMillan‘s 2017 injury came at a worse time than Collins’ and was far more severe. But the Dolphins linebacker is back in action. McMillan is participating in Miami’s OTAs, per Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The former Ohio State ‘backer and Ryan Tannehill underwent surgeries for ACL tears on the same date last summer and are each progressing accordingly. Both are working with their teammates at OTAs. McMillan was slated to be the Dolphins’ starting middle linebacker prior to his preseason setback.
  • The Redskins opted to bring back veteran guard Shawn Lauvao for what will be a fifth season with the team, doing so possibly because of Arie Kouandjio‘s significant injury. Lauvao’s deal will be a one-year pact worth up to $2.39MM, John Keim of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The 30-year-old lineman will earn $950K in base salary, per Keim, who adds this agreement includes a $300K signing bonus and a $200K roster bonus. While only $300K is guaranteed, Keim categorizes the $1MM incentive package as “likely to be earned.”
  • After being benched early last season, John Miller is back working as the Bills‘ first-unit right guard, Joe Buscaglia of WKBW notes. Departures of Richie Incognito, Eric Wood and Cordy Glenn have the Bills’ line in an interesting place, but Miller has started all 32 games in which he’s played since Buffalo used a third-round pick on him in 2015. Vlad Ducasse usurped him after the guards’ offseason competition, which Miller won, continued into the regular season. Miller did not see action after this post-Week 4 demotion, but Buffalo is giving him another chance entering his contract year. If Miller sticks at right guard, Ducasse would be in line to fill Incognito’s left guard position.

East Notes: Giants, Collins, Pats, Dolphins

Landon Collins fractured his arm last December, and the injury is not healing as well as the Giants safety had hoped, reprots Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter links). As such, Collins is now considering another operation to further repair the break. Luckily, a procedure to plate the break would only recover a six-to-eight week recovery period, meaning Collins would likely be available for training camp, per Garafolo, who cautions that while surgery is expected, no final decision has been made. Collins, who earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl berth in 2017, is entering the final year of his rookie contract.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • After missing the entirety of his rookie season due to a torn ACL, Patriots edge rusher Derek Rivers has not suffered any setbacks, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. As should be expected, New England will likely use caution as Rivers reintegrates into football, and the club likely won’t feel the need to push Rivers during offseason activities. But it appears that the third-round pick from Youngstown State will be ready for the start of the 2018 campaign, says Reiss. Heading into last year’s draft, Rivers was viewed as something of a project, a high-motor player who may need time to develop. The Patriots could certainly use help on the edge after finishing just 30th in pressure rate last year, and Rivers could conceivably get a chance at playing time if healthy.
  • Although the Dolphins have already signed veteran Frank Gore to pair with incumbent Kenyan Drake, the club will be open to selecting another running back in the draft, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Indeed, Miami has been attempting to schedule a pre-draft visit with San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny, but finding an open date has been difficult given that Penny has already set up many meetings with other teams. Penny (5’11”, 220) rushed for a whopping 2,248 yards in 2018, averaging 7.8 yards per carry while scoring 23 touchdowns on the ground.
  • The New York media market could play a factor in the Giants‘ decision on whether to use the No. 2 overall pick on quarterback, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk opines. If Big Blue drafts a signal-caller, fans and reporters alike will likely be clamoring for that passer to be inserted into the starting lineup if Eli Manning falters. While that doesn’t necessarily mean the Giants shouldn’t consider a quarterback, they should only do so if general manager Dave Gettleman & Co. have no doubts about the prospect, argues Florio. Sitting at No. 2, New York will have their choice of three of Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, and Josh Allen (provided Cleveland uses the first overall pick on a quarterback, as expected).

East Notes: Giants, Collins, Cutler, Jets

A day after referring to Eli Apple as “a cancer,” Landon Collins has attempted to walk that back. While that might be difficult, the All-Pro Giants safety issued an apology (on Twitter) today and confirmed he did so in person in a meeting with Apple and Steve Spagnuolo. The interim HC confirmed the meeting, via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post (on Twitter).

I met with Coach Spags and Eli this morning and I apologized for the things I said yesterday,” Collins said. “I never stop supporting my brother/teammate Eli and the rest of my teammates as we move forward. Just want him to know I’m always here for him.”

On Tuesday during a radio interview, Collins said Apple “needs to grow up.” Wednesday’s apology marks the latest chapter in a weeks-long saga involving the two defensive backs. Earlier this month, Collins said he’d talked to Apple — who has taken a step back this season — and told media the cornerback’s issues were mental and that he was dealing with “significant” personal struggles. Apple then denied Collins spoke with him, and the third-year safety — according to NJ.com — had to be restrained by teammates as he attempted to confront the second-year corner. Apple has not been suspended like Janoris Jenkins or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie were, but he’s been benched and reportedly nearly left the Giants’ facility because of a harsh film-room session earlier this season.

Here’s the latest out of the Eastern divisions.

  • Josh McDaniels remains linked to Patriots exec Nick Caserio regarding GM/HC arrangements, but Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports the New England OC could also be interested in pairing up with Louis Riddick as a GM. Riddick interviewed for the Giants’ GM job last week, although Dave Gettleman is viewed as the favorite. McDaniels and Caserio were a sought-after tandem last year, with the 49ers having shown interest in bringing them to the Bay Area.
  • Adam Gase said Wednesday he has not spoken to Jay Cutler about him returning to the Dolphins in 2018, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. Jackson adds the Dolphins remain committed to having Ryan Tannehill return as their starter next season, but he reported last week the Fins would be open to Cutler coming back as the backup. Cutler will start this weekend’s regular-season finale against the Bills.
  • Davis Webb will rise to the Giants‘ No. 2 quarterback role and take Geno Smith‘s place as Eli Manning‘s backup, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. It will be the first time Webb suits up as an NFLer. Smith will be inactive Sunday, and Webb could see time off the bench in the game under the format Ben McAdoo broached with Manning upon benching him earlier this year. Spagnuolo, however, said (via Schwartz, on Twitter) there are “no guarantees” the third-round rookie makes his NFL debut against the Redskins.
  • The Jets are likely to land a pick in the lower part of the top 10, and Brian Costello of the New York Post ranked the most- to least-likely scenarios involving offseason quarterback plans. Most likely is a setup where the Jets draft Josh Allen with their first pick and re-sign Josh McCown to continue his better-than-expected stopgap work. Costello notes the Jets’ top competition for the Wyoming passer could be the BroncosJohn Elway trekked to the Potato Bowl in Boise, Idaho, last week to observe Allen in person. The Jets, though, have put in the most work on Allen to this point. Gang Green’s No. 2 scenario? Kirk Cousins, whom Costello recalls the team showing interest in after Smith was sucker-punched in 2015.

Collins Calls Eli Apple A “Cancer”

During an interview with ESPN Radio New York on Tuesday, Giants safety Landon Collins didn’t mince words about 2016 first-round pick Eli Apple when asked what changes he would make to the team’s secondary next season. Eli Apple (Vertical)

“There’s one corner that … he needs to grow up, and we all know who that is,” Collins said. “That would be the only person I would change out of our secondary group. The other two guys, [Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie] and [Janoris Jenkins], I love those guys. They play hard, they love what they do. But that first pick, I don’t think … he’s a cancer.”

There is little doubt the corner in question is Apple, who has rubbed teammates the wrong way with his effor. In November, the cornerback nearly walked out of the Giants facility because he received criticism for his play vs. San Francisco. Later, Collins told reporters he had discussions with Apple about improving his play, which Apple later denied to the press.

Apple still has two more years fully guaranteed on his contract, but when the team’s two-time Pro Bowl safety and leader in the clubhouse wants you gone, it’s hard to see a scenario in which Apple can return to the team. Both Jenkins and Rodgers-Cromartie are candidates for release or trade once the team hires a new general manager and head coach.

Apple has played in 11 games this season with New York, registering 49 tackles and eight passes defensed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants’ Landon Collins Fractures Forearm

The Giants season has certainly not gone the way they had hoped coming off a playoff appearance about a year ago. With just one week remaining before their tumultuous 2017 campaign comes to a close, the team has learned it’s lost another star player to injury. All-pro safety Landon Collins left today’s game vs. the Cardinals, with the team now learning that he is out for the season with a fractured forearm, reports Jordan Schwartz of the New York Post (Twitter link).

Landon Collins (Vertical)

While the injury is not ideal for a franchise that intends to try and compete next season, Collins will now have a full offseason to recover from the injury. At 23 years old, the former 2015 second round pick has already established himself as one of the best safeties in the NFL. Collins produced breakout numbers a year ago, which led him to a First Team All-pro selection in just his second year in the NFL.

Even in a down year for his franchise, Collins continued his quality play in 2017. Through 14 weeks, he ranked as the eighth best player at his position, according to the metrics at Pro Football Focus. In 15 games this season, Collins collected 77 total tackles with two forced fumbles and another two interceptions. The Giants have Andrew Adams, Nat Berhe and Ryan Murphy on the bench to fill-in for Collins in the team’s 2017 season finale vs. Washington.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Spiller, Scherff, Lanning, Giants

C.J. Spiller became the latest key performer to have an injury end his preseason and potentially put the start of his regular season in doubt.

The Saints‘ presumed passing-down back underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Friday but is expected to make his Saints debut in Week 1, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, on Twitter.

Spiller, who did not play in the Saints’ initial preseason game, joins Zach Ertz, Julius Thomas and Jonathan Cyprien among the contingent that’s seen injuries make August a rehabilitation month.

Here are a few other items from around the league, beginning in Washington.

  • No. 5 overall pick Brandon Scherff may no longer play a position worthy of that kind of draft expense, with Washington coach Jay Gruden noting the Iowa product’s future will be at guard, per the Washington Post’s Mike Jones (on Twitter). Scherff’s currently slotted at right guard on Washington’s depth chart to accommodate 2014 third-rounder Morgan Moses, who sits atop the right tackle pecking order despite starting just one game last year. Gruden told media, including Jones (Twitter link), Scherff’s permanent move inside is due to Moses’ progression, not the decorated rookie’s inability to stick at right tackle.
  • Jones also points out Zach Miller isn’t a realistic option for Washington’s tight end crisis, with the former Raiders and Seahawks starter still not fully recovered from the ankle injury that ended his 2014 season (Twitter link).
  • Tom Coughlin confirmed Mykkele Thompson‘s Achilles’ tendon tear and noted higher-profile Giants rookie safety Landon Collins has a sprained MCL, per NJ.com’s Jordan Raanan. Collins is expected back by Week 1 but will probably miss most of the preseason, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). Vacchiano, on Twitter, also offers that Collins being back for the start of the Giants’ season isn’t a lock, with the recovery time for MCL sprains being 2-6 weeks.
  • Vying for the Broncos‘ kicker job after each had it for parts of last season, Brandon McManus and Connor Barth combined to go 5-for-5 in field goals Friday night, but Mike Klis of 9News notes that the Denver kicking competition now includes Spencer Lanning, should the team opt to go with one kicker and Lanning as a punter/kickoff specialist. The Browns’ punter before June’s Andy Lee trade, Lanning also poses a threat to longtime punter Britton Colquitt, who seemed safe after agreeing to reduce his salary by $1.4MM earlier this month.
  • Fifth-year outside linebacker Gabe Miller will work out for the Browns, tweets Adam Caplan of NFL.com. A fifth-round pick of the Chiefs in 2011, Miller’s only played in seven games in four years, each coming last season with Washington.

East Rumors: Giants, Taylor, Rex, Patriots

The Giants‘ already-thin secondary worsened after their first preseason clash on Friday, with four defensive backs lost to injuries.

While Landon Collins‘ leg injury is considered minor, fellow rookie safety Mykkele Thompson‘s is not. The 2015 fifth-rounder is expected to miss the rest of the season after what is believed to be an Achilles’ tendon tear, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.

“Big concern” is the phrase Tom Coughlin used in describing Thompson’s outlook. Thompson represented much-needed depth for Big Blue’s back line, making his way onto the Giants’ second team at strong safety behind converted cornerback Bennett Jackcson. Sixth-year veteran Jeromy Miles resides as the Giants’ third-string strong safety presently.

Jayron Hosley and Trumaine McBride also left the game, but their setbacks aren’t expected to be regular-season-altering.

As the first full weekend of 2015 NFL action continues, let’s look at some news coming out of the Eastern divisions, continuing in Buffalo.

  • Tyrod Taylor‘s push for becoming the least-likely Week 1 starting quarterback in the league received a boost after his Bills debut, with Rex Ryan announcing the former Virginia Tech product will start in Buffalo’s next preseason game — Thursday against the Browns — per Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. While this comes in an attempt to give the one-time sixth-round pick a shot against a starting defense, as Taylor flashed his “excellent” speed against the Panthers’ second-stringers, it doesn’t cement a Taylor ascent. Matt Cassel started in the Bills’ first preseason tilt, with EJ Manuel doing so in the team’s intrasquad scrimmage.
  • Ryan saw his exit from New Jersey coming entering his sixth and final season there, according to an upcoming Real Sports segment with Andrea Kremer (per Brian Costello of the New York Post), with the current Bills coach knowing the Jets were going to “stink” after not doing much in free agency last year. “100 percent I knew I was done,” Ryan told Kremer. “… (Jets owner Woody Johnson) couldn’t [keep me]. There’s no chance that he could have brought in another GM and kept me again. It wouldn’t have worked in New York, they weren’t going to allow it. The media wouldn’t allow it; it wasn’t going to work.
  • Many NFL owners will be upset if Roger Goodell loses in the Deflategate saga, offers CSNNE.com’s Gary Tanguay. “I think this is personal,” Tanguay said. “I think there are some owners, for whatever reason, want to get at Robert Kraft and the Patriots organization. I think they sent Goodell to be their whipping boy. The way the NFL has looked so far, they’ve looked so bad even though I think the Patriots are guilty, if Goodell loses this, he will take heat from the owners.”

Landon Collins, Giants Agree To Deal

The Giants have agreed to terms with second-round safety Landon Collins on his rookie contract, according to Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). With first-rounder Ereck Flowers having signed his own deal yesterday, the team has now secured all its 2015 draft picks.

Collins, the 33rd overall pick in this year’s draft, narrowly missed being selected in the first round, meaning his contract won’t include a fifth-year option for the 2019 season. Instead, he’ll be eligible for free agency after playing out a four-year deal worth about $6.121MM. His signing bonus will be approximately $2.711MM, per Over The Cap.

Once Collins went undrafted in the first round, the Giants aggressively moved up at the start of the draft’s second day to land him. New York sent its second-, fourth-, and seventh-round picks to the Titans, moving up from No. 40 to No. 33 to secure the former Alabama safety.

Now that Collins had reached an agreement with the Giants, only the Colts, Patriots, Raiders, and Titans still have draftees to lock up — in total, six picks remain unsigned.

Giants Acquire 33rd Pick From Titans

The Giants have acquired the 33rd overall pick in the draft from the Titans, tweets ESPN’s Adam Schefter. In return, the Titans will receive the Giants’ second- , fourth-, and seventh-round picks, reports Albert Breer of NFL.com (Twitter link). Those selections are the 40th, 108th, and 245th picks, respectively.

The Giants selected Alabama safety Landon Collins with the 33rd pick. Collins, who totaled 103 tackles and three interceptions for the Crimson Tide in 2014, is expected to improve a Giants defense that finished last season 29th in the NFL.