The Texans are keeping Maliek Collins. On Tuesday, the defensive tackle agreed to return on a two-year deal worth $17MM (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The pact also includes $8.5MM guaranteed, giving Collins security heading into his seventh pro season.
Collins, a three-technique tackle, emerged as a key contributor in Lovie Smith‘s defense last year. The two sides were said to have mutual interest and, as expected, they’ve hashed out a deal in advance of the official start to free agency.
The Texans snagged Collins on a one-year, $5MM deal last year. This time around, they were willing to go significantly higher. At one point in time, Collins seemed like a lost cause. However, he’s clearly bounced back from his iffy Raiders run.
Last year, Collins notched a career-high 29 tackles with nine tackles for loss, seven quarterback hits, and 2.5 sacks.
Going into the last year of his contract, Patriots punter Jake Bailey was set to earn a base salary of $925,000 for the 2022 NFL season. Due to a proven performance bonus that was triggered when Bailey was selected to the 2020 Pro Bowl, Bailey is on track to be the NFL’s highest-paid punter with a 2022 salary of $3.98MM, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.
A knee injury limited Bailey in the 2021 season which saw him struggle to live up to his expected salary. It’s now assumed that the Patriots will begin working towards a contract extension to lessen the cap hit Bailey is posed to hold. In a normal situation, the Patriots might want to see another season of success out of Bailey after a down 2021, but Bailey’s raise puts a little pressure on New England to work out a deal sooner rather than later.
Here are a few more notes from around the AFC, starting with a note from the Steel City:
In an article for The Athletic, Ed Bouchette poses the question: What does Pittsburgh do about their pass-catchers this offseason? The Steelers have long subscribed to the notion that they don’t need to sign a receiver to a multi-year extension (with the exception of Antonio Brown). They can (and do) always just draft another. Now, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, and Ray-Ray McCloud are headed towards free agency. They still have Diontae Johnson (heading into a contract year, himself) and Chase Claypool, but both have had their own issues: Johnson with drops and Claypool failing to improve on an impressive rookie-season. Pittsburgh can (and likely will) turn to the second and third round of the draft to address the thin roster, as usual, but do they break protocol to ensure they have at least three receivers they can trust?
After a one-year deal brought him to Houston, defensive tackle Maliek Collins has the Texans hooked. The 3-tech tackle played a pivotal role in now-head coach Lovie Smith‘s defense and the Texans are determined to pluck him off the open market and keep him in Houston. Luckily for Lovie, the feeling is reportedly mutual, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network. Collins is a strong fit in Houston and embraced his new team and his role on the team. Smith gushed about Collins and his impact, identifying him as the linchpin of their defensive system.
We mentioned a couple weeks ago that the Texans were able to re-sign long-time long snapper Jon Weeks on a one-year deal. Details on the contract were provided this week by Aaron Wilson on Twitter. Weeks will stay around the veteran minimum, slightly increasing his base salary from $1.08MM to $1.12MM and slightly increasing his signing bonus from $137,500 to $152,500. Consider it a cost-of-living raise for Weeks who will become the franchise’s longest-tenured player of all time when he reaches his 13th season this fall, passing star wide receiver Andre Johnson for the most seasons in Houston of all time.
Maliek Collins will relocate for the second straight offseason. The veteran defensive tackle agreed to terms with the Texans on Monday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
The former Cowboys draftee and 2020 Raiders contributor will sign a one-year contract worth up to $6MM, Schefter adds. This could represent good value for the rebuilding Texans, with Collins having started 66 games in his five-year career.
A third-round Cowboys pick in 2016, Collins became a Dallas regular immediately. He will a Houston D-line that lost J.J. Watt this offseason. Collins, who will turn 26 next month, played 12 games last season (11 starts) but failed to record a sack or a tackle for loss as a Raider.
This represents a “prove it”-type deal for the longtime starter. The Texans will surely add more starters to a defense that has fallen on hard times in recent years.
Maliek Collins has started throughout his first Raiders season but will see an injury pause his initial post-Cowboys campaign.
The Raiders are placing the first-string defensive tackle on IR Wednesday, per The Athletic’s Vic Tafur (on Twitter). Collins has started in the 10 games in which he’s played this year but must miss at least the next three. Collins was listed on the Raiders’ injury report with ankle and hamstring issues, but Jon Gruden said the D-lineman has a shoulder injury as well (Twitter link via Tafur).
While the Raiders gave Collins a one-year deal worth $6MM, he has struggled. Pro Football Focus currently has the fifth-year veteran slotted as the league’s worst full-time interior defender. Collins has yet to record a sack and has just one quarterback hit this season.
Working under current Raiders defensive line coach Rod Marinelli in Dallas, Collins recorded multiple sacks in each of his first four seasons. He also notched at least eight QB hits in each of his Cowboy campaigns, creating a mid-level market for himself this offseason.
The Raiders placed these seven players on their reserve/COVID list earlier this week, preventing each from practicing. They joined Lamarcus Joyner in that regard; the Raiders activated Joyner on Friday. This octet profiled as close contacts ofClelin Ferrell, who tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this week. Abram, Hankins, Key, Collins, Johnson and Vickers will be eligible to play against the Chiefs if their most recent COVID tests come back negative Sunday morning. Irving must be activated off the Raiders’ practice squad to suit up in Week 11.
Unlike Week 7’s Raiders-Buccaneers game — which was moved out of the Sunday-night window after Las Vegas’ first-string offensive line did not practice all week because of Trent Brown‘s positive COVID test — the NFL did not switch this week’s Raiders-Chiefs rematch out of the Sunday-night time slot.
3:06pm: The Raiders already prepared for a game without their first-string offensive line. They will face another difficult task ahead of their Week 11 rematch with the Chiefs.
At least eight members of the Raiders’ starting defense will land on their reserve/COVID-19 list, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Some of Las Vegas’ non-starter contributors on defense will also surface on the COVID list soon.
These players qualify as high-risk close contacts, and while Rapoport and NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero note they are not ruled out of Sunday night’s game (Twitter link), this certainly will bring another challenge for a team accustomed to dealing with them on the coronavirus front.
This news comes after the Raiders placedClelin Ferrell and Lamarcus Joyner on their coronavirus list. The former tested positive for COVID-19, Rapoport tweets. With two starters already on the list — and Ferrell set to miss the team’s Week 11 game — Wednesday’s news would cover almost every other starting defender. The latest slew of players set to appear on Vegas’ COVID list are indeed close Ferrell contacts, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweets.
Players who land on the virus list must isolate for five days. That timetable starts not at the point they land on the list but dates back to the individuals’ last contact with someone who contracted the virus. The Raiders are currently down right tackle Trent Brown due to COVID-19 and have lost a 2021 draft choice — and more than $1MM in total this season — because of failure to comply with the NFL’s COVID protocols.
Ahead of their Week 7 game against the Buccaneers, the Raiders practiced without Brown and the rest of their starting offensive line because of the group qualifying as high-risk close contacts of the mammoth tackle. The rest of the Raiders’ O-line returned to face the Bucs, which was moved from Sunday night to Sunday afternoon. With more Raiders out of practice because of the virus a month later, it would not be surprising if the NFL removes this game from the Sunday-night time slot as well to create flexibility in the event a postponement is necessary.