La’el Collins

Bills To Sign T La’el Collins

The Bills hosted La’el Collins on a visit during last season, but the veteran tackle — whom the Bengals released from their reserve/PUP list in September — did not end up signing. After briefly catching on with the Cowboys last year, Collins is coming back to New York.

Collins has a one-year deal in place with Buffalo, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. After working out for the Bills in late December, Collins will have a chance to resume his career. The veteran right tackle has not played in a game since December 2022.

[RELATED: Bills Trade Stefon Diggs To Texans]

Sent to free agency as a Dallas cap casualty in 2022, Collins wound up in Cincinnati on a three-year, $21MM deal. But ACL and MCL tears in late December of that year changed his Bengals path. Cincy changed up its tackle plan in 2023, signing Orlando Brown Jr. and kicking three-year left tackle Jonah Williams to the right side. This did not end up bringing a Williams-Collins competition, with the latter starting the season the PUP list. The Bengals soon cut Collins from the PUP list, and he did not catch on anywhere for months.

The Bengals were not exactly pleased with Collins’ form in 2022, but the veteran earned two extensions with the Cowboys for his work as a right tackle. After beginning his career at guard, the Cowboys kicked him outside opposite Tyron Smith. Collins worked as Smith’s primary bookend from 2017-21. That said, Collins missed all of the 2020 season due to injury and incurred a PED ban in 2021. This did not deter the Bengals, who needed O-line help after seeing teams tee off on Joe Burrow the previous year. But Collins did not prove a multiyear solution.

Collins, 30, has made 86 career starts. He missed only one game from 2017-19 and started in 15 Bengals contests in 2022. More than a year removed from his knee injury, Collins should have a better chance of bouncing back compared to where he was in 2023. The Cowboys added Collins in early January but never ended up using him in a game.

The Bills are set to return four of their five starters from one of the NFL’s healthiest O-lines. The team has Spencer Brown in place at right tackle. A 2021 third-round pick, Brown has started 41 games as a pro. This includes a 17-game 2023 season. After grading Brown outside the top 70 at tackle in 2022, Pro Football Focus slotted him 32nd last season. Collins could conceivably compete with the incumbent here, but he also may be a swingman. That said, Collins does not have NFL experience at left tackle.

Buffalo’s good health up front did not make a swingman relevant last season, but the team will give Collins a shot. It will be interesting to see if the four-time reigning AFC East champs open a right tackle competition or if the longtime starter will be relegated to a backup role early.

Cowboys, La’el Collins Agree To Deal

JANUARY 3, 6:50pm: The Cowboys and Collins have officially come to an agreement, according to Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report.

JANUARY 3, 11:00am: The Cowboys have not officially brought back Collins, with’s Jane Slater indicating an agreement is not complete. Slater adds both sides want this to come to pass, but Mike McCarthy confirmed Wednesday the contract is not done.

Being a practice squad agreement, this deal does not bring much in terms of complications. McCarthy added (via The Athletic’s Jon Machota) the sides are “working through some things.” A Collins return appears likely, but it appears the particulars will take some time.

JANUARY 2: La’el Collins‘ lengthy free agency stay will end Tuesday. The visit Collins made to his original NFL home earlier today will result in a reunion. The Cowboys are bringing the veteran offensive lineman back,’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero report.

This will be a practice squad deal, but it will be Collins’ first agreement since the Bengals cut him from their reserve/PUP list in September. Collins had met with the Jets, Giants and Bills (last week) since that separation but did not find a new gig. The Cowboys, who employed him from 2015-21, will step in and greenlight a return.

Initially signing Collins — a first-round-caliber talent who fell out of the 2015 draft due to an off-field concern at the time — as a UDFA, the Cowboys moved him from guard to right tackle early in his career and gave him two extensions to reward him for work at his second NFL position. Collins has been a right tackle regular for many years, though speedbumps have emerged during his career. This year qualifies, after the Bengals reconfigured their O-line without him in their first-string plans.

Collins operated as Dallas’ full-time right tackle from 2017-19 and again in 2021, though a PED suspension marred the final season of his first Cowboys stint. The team will sign off on a second stay, and Collins will represent insurance for a Cowboys team that has dealt with some injuries up front. Left guard Tyler Smith came out of Dallas’ Week 17 game with a full plantar fascia tear,’s Todd Archer notes. Tyron Smith and Zack Martin have dealt with maladies this year as well, though the former has logged 12 starts and has made a bigger contribution to this year’s Cowboys effort than last season’s.

Given a big-ticket extension this summer, Terence Steele — who suffered a torn ACL late last season — has not recaptured his pre-injury form just yet. Pro Football Focus ranks Steele in the bottom 10 among tackle regulars this season (75th), well off his quality 2022 performance that garnered the five-year, $82.5MM extension. The Cowboys plugged in Steele, a former UDFA, to succeed Collins last year — after the team designated the latter as a post-June 1 cut. Collins, 30, is set to return as insurance to close out what may still end up a lost year for the veteran blocker.

Tyler Smith has not been ruled out for Week 18, though Collins has not played guard in many years. The Cowboys slid the LSU alum to right tackle in 2017, and the Bengals did not consider kicking him back inside to accommodate the Orlando Brown Jr.. addition. Jonah Williams replaced Collins at RT this season. Collins has 86 starts on his resume but has not yet bounced back from the ACL and MCL tears he suffered in Week 16 of the 2022 season. The Cowboys made decent use of P-squad addition Jason Peters last season; Collins now resides in the veteran insurance role.

Cowboys To Sign LB Damien Wilson

JANUARY 3: As is the case with Collins, Wilson’s visit has produced an agreement. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports the latter has signed to the Cowboys’ practice squad, while David Moore of the Dallas Morning News adds Wilson and Collins will likely have their respective deals finalized tomorrow. Wilson will therefore be available for the team’s regular season finale as well as the playoffs.

JANUARY 2: In preparation for the postseason, the Cowboys are bringing in a pair of familiar faces. Offensive tackle La’el Collins is visiting Dallas today, Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network report. The same is true of linebacker Damien Wilson, per ESPN’s Todd Archer.

Both players began their careers with the Cowboys. Collins logged 71 starts across six seasons in Dallas, most of which came at right tackle. In his debut season, however, he played at left guard, something which could be of signficant importance given the injury status of Tyler Smith. The latter has been dealing with a plantar fascia tear, so Collins could serve as veteran insurance along the interior.

The former UDFA could also step in at right tackle if called upon. His replacement, Terence Steele, has struggled in his second season as a starter at that position. A strong showing in 2022 earned Steele a five-year, $82.5MM deal this fall, but the Texas Tech product has seen his PFF evaluation regress to a mark of 50.6 this year. Collins (who visited the Bills last week) would provide experience along the edge if he were to return to Dallas.

Wilson, like Collins, has not played in 2023. The 30-year-old played for the Cowboys from 2015-18, and the expiration of his rookie contract led to a number of short-team deals with the Chiefs, Jaguars and Panthers. Halfway into a two-year contract with Carolina, Wilson was released. That cost-cutting move followed the second arrest of his career, and he has not been connected to an NFL gig until today.

That is due in part to the four-game suspension he served earlier in the campaign, but he is free to join any interested team in advance of the playoffs. In need of depth at the second level due to injuries at the linebacker position, the Cowboys would represent a logical landing spot for Wilson as he aims to see game time this year and help his free agent stock along the way.

Both players will undergo workouts in the near future. Should they be successful, the Cowboys would likely add them to the practice squad while returning to game shape. One or both could find themselves in position to make a contribution to Dallas in the playoffs should today’s audition produce an agreement.

Bills Audition T La’el Collins

Off the grid for a while after multiple October workouts, La’el Collins has resurfaced. The Bills brought in the veteran blocker for a Friday workout, Field Yates of tweets.

This is close to being a lost season for Collins, who may end up attempting to follow in Jimmy Graham and Odell Beckham Jr.‘s footsteps by skipping a season and returning the following year. The Bengals released Collins from their reserve/PUP list in September, and while several teams checked on the experienced tackle, no deal emerged. The Jets and Giants met with Collins in October.

Collins’ ACL and MCL tears occurred in Week 16 of last season. Prior to that, he was Cincinnati’s unquestioned starter at right tackle. The Cowboys used Collins as such from 2017-19 and again, following a missed season, in 2021. After the Cowboys had extended Collins twice, they made him a 2021 post-June 1 cut. The Bengals swooped in, giving Collins a three-year, $21MM deal in 2022. But they were not too thrilled about their investment. The team shifted course in March, giving Orlando Brown Jr. a $16MM-per-year deal and kicking Jonah Williams to the right side.

Buffalo has Dion Dawkins and Spencer Brown in place at tackle, with rookie Ryan Van Demark as the swingman. The team just waived veteran Germain Ifedi, who had resided on the roster all season. Ifedi, however, did not see any action for the Bills this year. Neither Dawkins nor Brown have missed any time this season; in what has thus far been a clean year for Buffalo’s tackles, Van Demark has only played 37 offensive snaps.

On the verge of sitting out his age-30 season, Collins has 86 starts on his resume. He added three more in the playoffs. A team could look to bring in Collins as a practice squad stash ahead of the postseason. Barring that, the eight-year veteran is close to needing to regroup and aim to catch on during unrestricted free agency next year.

Jets Audition T La’el Collins; Giants Book Meeting

The Jets have their original starting left tackle and a guard-turned-right tackle on IR. Alijah Vera-Tucker‘s latest season-ending injury will lead to the team exploring the top option available.

La’el Collins worked out for the Jets on Tuesday,’s Ian Rapoport tweets. The Bengals released Collins from their reserve/PUP list nearly a month ago. While the veteran suffered ACL and MCL tears in late December last year, he passed a physical in late September. A number of teams have expressed interest.

With the Jets’ tackle positions being a problem for months now, they made sense as a team that would look into Collins. The Jets have moved Mekhi Becton back to left tackle, though the former first-round pick spent time on the sidelines in Week 5 due to an injury. Duane Brown is on IR due to a hip malady; this comes after the former Pro Bowler spent the offseason recovering from rotator cuff surgery.

Multiple visits were always likely for Collins, who plays a premium position and is going into his age-30 season. The Giants will also meet with the eight-year veteran,’s Mike Garafolo tweets. In worse shape compared to the Jets up front, the Giants have played without starter Andrew Thomas for the past four games. Thomas sustained a setback in his return from a hamstring injury, and the All-Pro’s absence as wreaked havoc for the Giants, who are dealing with injuries on the interior as well.

Collins has made 86 career starts; 15 of those came for the Bengals last season. Given a three-year, $21MM contract following his Cowboys release, Collins went down in Week 16 last season. The Bengals, who subsequently lost two other O-line starters before their shorthanded playoff games in Buffalo and Kansas City, moved to replace Collins by signing Orlando Brown Jr. to play left tackle and sliding Jonah Williams to the right side. After shifting Collins from the active/PUP list to the reserve/PUP list, the Bengals cut him.

The Bengals were not thrilled with Collins’ pre-injury work last year, but the former first-round talent-turned-UDFA secured two extensions with the Cowboys and operated as their right tackle from 2017-19 and again in 2021 (Collins missed all of 2020 due to injury). The Jets and Giants are also in need, with other teams likely monitoring the experienced blocker as well.

The Giants have not seen Evan Neal develop into a quality starter on the right side yet, and the team has seen center John Michael Schmitz and guard Shane Lemieux go down — both on a failed “Tush Push” attempt in Week 4. The Jets have Max Mitchell and Billy Turner in place as right tackle insurance. One of them will need to start in place of Vera-Tucker, whom the team had moved from right guard once again, after his Achilles tear. Vera-Tucker suffered a season-ending injury in Denver for the second straight year.

La’el Collins Passes Physical; Several Teams Monitoring Free Agent T

SEPTEMBER 27: The veteran starter is likely to have another opportunity in the near future. Around 12 teams have reached out to the high-profile free agent, Jeremy Fowler of notes, adding that free agency visits should be expected to follow. Collins collected $2.1MM in Bengals injury guarantees in 2023; it will be interesting to see which teams summon him for meetings.

SEPTEMBER 25: La’el Collins has gone from two-time Cowboys extension recipient to Bengals right tackle starter to free agency, becoming unattached after Cincinnati released him from its reserve/PUP list two weeks ago. But it should be expected the seasoned starter finds a new home soon.

ACL and MCL tears ended Collins’ 2022 season on Christmas Eve, and although he was not expected to begin the season on the Bengals’ active roster, the AFC North club made the surprising decision to axe him from the PUP list. While Collins’ readiness level was not known when the Bengals cut him,’s Adam Schefter reports he has since passed a physical.

Monday marks almost exactly nine months since Collins suffered his ligament tears, which would put him on a smooth track back to action. It would seemingly take the eight-year veteran more time to move back into game form, but Monday’s development should be of interest to teams in need to tackle help. Considering the injuries that pile up at this position annually, Collins could be an interesting piece to help a team in the near future or as a second-half hired gun.

The Bengals gave Collins a three-year, $21MM deal shortly after the Cowboys released him with in March 2022. Collins, 30, brought great value to Dallas, arriving as a first-round-level talent who fell out of the draft due to off-field matters. After a seven-year run as a Cowboys starter, Collins started all 15 games he played as a Bengal. The Bengals lost Collins, fellow 2022 signee Alex Cappa and veteran tackle Jonah Williams to injuries down the stretch, making a key impact on their push to defend their AFC title. This offseason, Cincy changed its tackle plans by signing Orlando Brown Jr. and moving Williams to the right side. That left Collins without a starting job, and the team was not particularly pleased with his pre-injury work.

Collins only has experience at right tackle, moving there from guard in 2017. But he would stand to be an upgrade for some teams at that post. The Patriots are playing without Riley Reiff, Collins’ Cincinnati RT predecessor, while the Jets chose to move Mekhi Becton back to left tackle (and Alijah Vera-Tucker to his emergency RT spot) after Duane Brown‘s injury. (The Patriots are believed to have Collins on their radar.) The Browns lost starter Jack Conklin for the season, while the Seahawks and Texans have their respective starters (Abraham Lucas, Tytus Howard) on IR. The Lions are down multiple tackles, with a potential season-ending Matt Nelson injury coming during Taylor Decker‘s second straight missed game.

Should Collins be ready to return to game action soon, he would represent an experienced option as contenders assemble their stretch-run rosters. While the LSU alum may be on the backend of his career, he has started 86 career games and worked as the primary right tackle for three playoff teams.

Bengals Release La’el Collins From PUP List; Patriots Have Inquired About T

SEPTEMBER 13: Collins’ health will no doubt influence his free agent prospects to a great extent. On that point, Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline reports he should be available to suit up in either late October or November. The timing of when Collins does find a home could lead to an injury grievance being filed against the Bengals, he adds.

Notably, Pauline names the Patriots as a team which has inquired about Collins, though New England will surely have competition to add the veteran as at least a depth option up front. All five starting members of the Patriots’ O-line are included on the Week 2 injury report, and tackle was a position facing question marks at the start of the season. As Collins moves closer to full health over time, it will be interesting to see how much of a market he develops for himself.

SEPTEMBER 12: The Bengals will cut bait on La’el Collins, who had remained on their PUP list to start the season. Collins is back in free agency, Field Yates of tweets.

Signed to a three-year deal in 2022, Collins suffered ACL and MCL tears in late December last year. Those injuries were expected to sideline him to start the season. The longtime Cowboys starter will have a chance at a fresh start now. The Bengals will save more than $7MM in cap space by making this move.

Cincinnati’s Orlando Brown Jr. signing rearranged its tackle corps, sliding three-year starter Jonah Williams to the right side. After a trade request, Williams remained in the fold and opened the season at right tackle. Jackson Carman, who lost the RT position battle with Williams early in training camp, is in place as the team’s swing tackle. This left Collins without a clear role. While teams frequently prioritize O-linemen, a veteran starter is now available. Though, there is the matter of Collins returning from his knee injuries.

Given a three-year, $21MM deal following a Cowboys release, Collins started 15 games for the Bengals last season. A steady run of O-line injuries affected the Bengals significantly in a narrow AFC championship game loss to the Chiefs, which featured three starters — Collins, Williams, guard Alex Cappa — out of commission. Williams and Cappa returned this offseason, but Williams’ injuries were more severe. This will undoubtedly affect his earning potential as a second-time free agent.

Collins, 30, has 86 starts on his resume. While several of those came at guard to start his career, the former LSU standout ended up at right tackle early in his NFL run. The Cowboys gave Collins two extensions, the second a five-year deal worth $50MM, but released him in 2022.

This Bengals transaction should generate some interest from tackle-needy teams, but it remains to be seen how healthy Collins is. Had Collins entered the offseason healthy, he would have resided as a trade candidate for the Bengals, who were not pleased with his work last season. They were not interested in trying Collins at guard following the Brown addition, either. But they moved on early, incurring only a $1.7MM dead-money hit to do so. The Bengals also roster D’Ante Smith, a 2021 fourth-round pick, as a backup tackle option.

Bengals Reduce Roster To 53, Place T La’el Collins On Reserve/PUP List

The Bengals have worked their way down to the 53-man roster limit. Here are the moves made on Tuesday to finalize their initial squad:



Placed on reserve/PUP list:

Placed on IR:

Collins will miss at least the first four weeks of the season given his PUP designation. The former Cowboy signed a three-year, $21MM deal in free agency last offseason to operate as Cincinnati’s right tackle starter. His play in his debut season was underwhelming, however, and that role will belong to Jonah Williams this season, unless the latter misses time or Collins usurps him on the depth chart. A knee injury is to blame for Collins’ missed time, per the team.

Both Pesefea and Tell will miss the entire season, as is the case for all players placed on IR before being named to the initial 53-man roster. They will either remain with the organization during the campaign, or be released via an injury settlement which would allow them to find a new opportunity elsewhere.

Jones represents a more experienced cut than most of the other players let go. The former second-rounder has 57 games and 27 starts to his name, and he split his time between the Seahawks and Raiders last season. Moving on from Jones further signals the team’s intention of relying on younger options like Cam Taylor-Britt and rookies DJ Turner and DJ Ivey in the secondary.

Losing Adeniji (unless he clears waivers and is retained via the practice squad, as will no doubt be the case for many of the players listed above) would leave the Bengals thin along the O-line, especially in light of the Collins news. The 2020 sixth-rounder has experience at multiple positions up front, but his level of play has been a contributing factor in the team’s urgency in pursuing free agent blockers in recent years.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/23/23

Here are today’s minor moves heading into the week:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Ravens fans can breathe a sigh of relief now that Bateman is set to return for camp. Bateman missed most of the team’s spring activities after receiving a cortisone shot in hopes it would help him get back in time for camp. It was slightly concerning that he didn’t initially report with the rest of the team, but general manager Eric DeCosta had reassured the media that Bateman was expected back soon. Two days later and Bateman should be in attendance for camp to start this week.

Claypool has been dealing with a soft tissue injury from earlier in the offseason. He was expected back in time for camp but clearly will have to wait a bit to rejoin the team.

With the departure of Eli Apple in free agency, Awuzie is expected to take a step up in the Bengals’ defense this year. Cincinnati will hope to get him back and working with the first-team secondary again soon. The absences of Cochran and Collins leave the team a little thin on tackle depth, but the starters remain available as Jonah Williams avoids any injury designations.

Detroit will have Jameson Williams available for training camp but not for the start of the season. The Lions will be hoping to get the opposite result for Jones, who will be unavailable to start camp.

Bengals Likely To Start RT La’el Collins On PUP List?

The right tackle spot will be one to monitor closely in Cincinnati during training camp, since that is the likeliest landing spot for former blindside protector Jonah Williams. Another option at the position may not be available to the Bengals by the start of the season.

La’el Collins is a strong candidate to be placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list in advance of the regular season, writes The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. (subscription required). That designation would keep him sidelined for at least six weeks, so the team will no doubt remain patient in their evaluation of the veteran tackle before deciding how to proceed with him.

Collins continues to rehab the torn ACL and MCL he suffered in December, injuries which added to his missed games over the course of his career and cut short his debut Bengals season. The 29-year-old spent his first seven years (six seasons) with the Cowboys, manning the RT spot during most of that time. His release from Dallas cleared the way for a three-year, $21MM pact in Cincinnati as part of the team’s rebuilding effort up front.

The former UDFA started all 15 games he played in last season, but he drew the second-worst overall PFF grade (57.9) of his career in the process. The Bengals were likewise unimpressed with Collins’ performance, something which likely played a small part in their decision to retain Williams in the aftermath of his trade request. The latter is now set to try his hand at a switch to right tackle, where his primary competition for a starting spot will be Jackson Carman.

Collins, when healthy, is thus likely suited for a backup role at the tackle spot. He has experience playing on the inside, but a unit involving he, Williams and free agent left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. on the field together is not under consideration. All attention will be on Collins’ level of progress in his recovery over the next few weeks, followed by his role during the campaign upon returning to full health and the team’s active roster.