La’el Collins is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which is smack dab in the middle of New Orleans Saints territory. Collins chose to stay close to home for college, attending Louisiana State University (LSU) in his home town, and is in a unique position of being able to pick his NFL team. A top prospect in last week’s NFL draft, Collins went undrafted when Baton Rouge police announced their desire to speak with Collins in regard to the murder of his former girlfriend Brittany Mills. Mills was pregnant at the time of her fatal shooting.
A paternity test determined that Collins was not the father of Mills’ unborn child and Collins has answered all the questions police had for him to date in a Monday meeting that lasted approximately 90 minutes. At the time of Mills’ murder, Collins was reported to be with family and friends watching the New Orleans Pelicans and Golden State Warriors in a NBA playoff game, giving him an air tight alibi with multiple witnesses. He appears to be the victim of extremely bad timing as police interest in speaking with him cast a long shadow over him and caused all 32 NFL teams to pass over him in the April 30 to May 2 draft. Collins was expected to be taken in the first round in a slot worth a contact for several million dollars over his first four years in the league before these events unfolded.
As an undrafted free agent, Collins is free to sign with a team of his choosing, but is limited by Collective Bargaining agreement restrictions to a contract worth approximately $1.6 million dollars over three years. While that sounds like a windfall to anyone reading this article, it pales in comparison to the four year, $6.85 million dollar contract signed by Teddy Bridgewater, the 32nd and final pick in the first round of the 2014 draft. Collins only advantage is becoming a free agent and earning his second, often richer contract a year sooner than his would be first round draft mates. He is also not subject to a team controlled fifth year option, which, if executed, obligates the player to a fifth and final year at the average salary of the top ten players at their position.
Most young men grow up dreaming of playing for their favorite NFL team and, while Collins favorite is not a matter of public record, his Louisiana roots would point to the New Orleans Saints. Baton Rouge is a mere 80 miles from New Orleans and in firmly entrenched in Saints country. Another extremely popular team in Louisiana are the Dallas Cowboys, from neighboring Texas, and Collins scheduled a meeting with Jerry Jones to discuss opportunities in Dallas. Adding Collins to the already formidable Cowboys offensive line is a frightening prospect.
Since winning their two recent Super Bowls, the Giants have a larger national following and possess a secret weapon to deploy if they are serious in their quest to land Collins. Odell Beckham, jr, the reigning offensive rookie of the year, was a member of the same recruiting class and a three year teammate of Collins. The Miami Dolphins already sent a contingent of three players, wide receiver Jarvis Landry, linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, and defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, all LSU alumni, to recruit him. Giants’ wide receiver Rueben Randle was also a Tigers’ teammate of both Beckham and Collins in 2011.
If the Giants are serious about adding Collins to their improving offensive line, they will dispatch Beckham and Randle to Baton Rouge to speak with him about Giants tradition, opportunities in the New York Market, and their experiences wearing blue. Without taking this step, any reports of Jerry Reese being “In the mix” for signing the crown jewel of the free agent market is nothing more than public relations propaganda to appease the fan base. Beckham has the clout to tip the scales in the Giants’ favor and Reese knows it. He would be a fool not use every weapon in his arsenal to reel in Collins in and propel the Giants’ offensive line to next level, and given their geographical disadvantage he’s starting with, he’s going to need them.
Giants360 has partnered with Fantasy Sport Warehouse to increase the Giants content available to you. You should check both sites frequently to stay informed of the latest news, notes, rumors, and opinions about the New York Giants. Follow Giants360 on Twitter and Facebook to have the articles brought right to your computer or mobile device.
Earlier today, on Fantasy Sports Warehouse, we took a look at Alfonzo Dennard, and why the Giants didn’t put a claim in on him. You can read the article and many others about the Giants by following this link.
Giants360. All Giants. All Year Round.
Do you have a passion for writing about sports? Fantasy Sports Warehouse is looking for writers to cover all teams in all sports. To be considered, prepare a sample article on a current topic of your choice, 500 to 1,000 words in length and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Unleash your hidden writer and let the words flow today.