Fifth-Year Strong Safety, Coming Off 3 Straight Pro Bowls, Says His Goodbyes; Figures To Be Hot Commodity In Free Agency

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Landon Collins will soon be a very rich man — only not with the Giants.

In a move that is leaving a lot of NFL insiders and fans scratching their heads, New York has informed Collins it will not put the franchise tag on him, meaning the fifth-year strong safety will hit free agency starting March 13, the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday.

Collins took to Twitter on Tuesday to thanks the Giants and their fans.

The market for Collins, a 25-year-old who has made the Pro Bowl the last three seasons, is expected to be strong.

So why is the marriage ending? It’s believed the Giants don’t like the idea of doling out the $11.15 million 2019 salary that comes with the non-exclusive franchise tag, the Daily News reported on Monday.

Yet, Collins has been everything the Giants could have asked for and more since they selected him with the 33rd overall pick in the 2015 draft. The former standout at Alabama has amassed 325 combined tackles, 4.0 sacks and seven interceptions over the last three seasons. He missed four games in 2018 due a torn rotator cuff that required surgery.

Collins is not a fan of the franchise tag and was a threat to hold out if the Giants slapped it on him. He had hoped to sign a long-term extension with Big Blue, the newspaper reported.

Late last month, Collins reportedly cleaned out his locker at the team’s practice facility and said his goodbyes to teammates and team personnel in an apparent attempt to display his displeasure over how his contract situation has been handled. Some reporters refuted the report, saying Collins’ locker was not emptied. However, Collins, himself, later took to Twitter and said in a since-deleted tweet that things he left behind he did not need.

Subtract Collins from the roster and the Giants defense would be devoid of top-end talent, which would likely force general manager Dave Gettleman to invest a good portion of the team’s estimated $27 million in salary cap space on an impact defensive player or two.

New York also has the No. 6 pick in what is considered a defense-heavy draft, but some have speculated the Giants could try to trade up if they decide to find the heir apparent to 38-year-old starting quarterback Eli Manning.

The Giants reportedly like Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins and at least have mild interest in Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray of Oklahoma.


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