The beginning of free agency is typically exciting, but the Dallas Cowboys seem to be having more players leaving rather than coming in.
While the Miami Dolphins are signing wide receiver Cedrick Wilson according to CBS Sports Insider Jonathan Jones, the Cowboys have yet to make a splash. The only early signing came in the form of long snapper Jake McQuade. McQuade signed a one-year deal according to NFL media insider Ian Rapoport.
So while the long snapper position is covered, it appears the Cowboys have been focused on trading tackle La’el Collins. Unfortunately for Dallas, it doesn’t appear to be going well, despite reports saying there was significant interest in Collins.
“Source said it’s doubtful Cowboys can trade La’el Collins and a release is probable,” Dallas News reporter Calvin Watkins Tweeted on March 14. “Let’s see what happens.”
It’s a poor turn of events from the Cowboys perspective, who committed to Collins with a big five-year, $50 million contract in 2019 according to Spotrac. Collins had been a must-start player since arriving in Dallas, but the relationship between the player and team has deteriorated to the point that the Cowboys can’t even trade the former LSU Tiger.
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Cowboys’ Relationship with Cowboys Has ‘Soured’
When he wasn’t injured, Collins was a lock as the starting right tackle position since making a name for himself as an undrafted free agent. But things change, and as Terrence Steele has made his own impact, the Cowboys appear to be disenchanted with Collins.
According to Sports Illustrated reporter Mike Fisher, the Cowboys’ recent push to get rid of Collins is rooted deeper than this past season.
“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.”
As Collins missed five games after failing to report for a drug test, Steele nailed down the starting right tackle position. Clearly, the Cowboys were ready to move on from Collins as the starting tackle in some way, but they obviously would prefer to trade the 28-year-old rather than release him.
It’s worth noting that the Cowboys will save more money by releasing him. As Fisher wrote, cutting Collins after June 1 will save the team $10 million in cap space, while a trade would only free up $1 million this year and keep them on the hook for the rest.
The clear problem though is that free agency is starting now, and a sizable amount of money on June 1 isn’t especially useful.
Dolphins, Buccaneers Interested in Collins
Before Watkins’ report on March 14, the potential of a trade felt legitimate, as Pro Football Network insider Tony Pauline reported that there were multiple teams interested in acquiring Collins, namely the Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
That being said, Pauline also explained that the Cowboys were eager just to get anything for Collins.
“I’m told at this point the Cowboys would accept anything in return for Collins, even a late-round pick,” Pauline wrote on March 12. “If they can’t trade Collins, the expectations are Dallas will likely release the offensive tackle. It might be difficult to trade him as he carries a $10 million price tag.”
The writing was on the wall for Dallas, but the presence of multiple interested teams gave some hope to fans that wanted to see some form of return for the veteran tackle. Now, it appears likely he’ll be walking away for nothing.