A former Dallas Cowboys star has found a new home in the AFC as the Cincinnati Bengals continue to improve their offensive line.
While the Cowboys look to improve off an early playoff exit in the 2021 season and set up a run to the Super Bowl, Cincinnati is coming off their close 23-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI. As the Bengals prepare to repeat their playoff success, they’re signing La’el Collins to their roster.
NFL media insider Mike Garafolo reported the news on March 20, which capped off a dramatic saga of Collins leaving Dallas and then wavering on his decision to join Cincinnati after considering a second suitor.
“The #Bengals are finalizing an agreement with OT La’el Collins, sources tell me and @RapSheet,” Garafolo Tweeted. “He was supposed to leave town today for another visit but Cincy didn’t let him go.”
Now, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has a new tackle to watch his back. The Cowboys appear to be sticking with Terence Steele, who has started 27 games in the past two years.
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Cowboys Were ‘Soured’ on Collins
When reports first surfaced stating that the Cowboys would be interested in trading Collins after the 2021 season, it came as a bit of a surprise. Collins has been a mainstay on the offensive line since 2015, and his $14.93 million salary this year isn’t obscene in terms of price for a high-level tackle.
However, Mike Fisher of Sports Illustrated reported on March 12 that the Cowboys “soured” on the former LSU Tiger. Apparently, Dallas and owner Jerry Jones were ready to move on from Collins.
“The $ sacrifice here makes little sense,” Fisher tweeted on March 12. “But Cowboys have soured on La’el Collins – long wishing he’d ‘take the job more seriously,’ I’m told.”
While the Cowboys wanted to trade Collins initially, they apparently couldn’t get a deal done and released the tackle on March 17. Collins was designated as a post-June 1 cut, which ended up saving the Cowboys the most possible money, with $10 million in cap space freeing up after June 1. However, the team will still have $8.7 million in dead cap in 2023 due to Collins’ contract, per ESPN reporter Todd Archer.