Jets in Talks With 86-Game OL Starter as Replacement Option for AVT

La'el Collins, Cowboys

Getty Former Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman La'el Collins reacting on the field during an NFL game.

The New York Jets are kicking the tires on one of the biggest name free agents left on the open market.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport revealed on X previously Twitter, that offensive tackle La’el Collins worked out for the Jets according to the NFL’s transaction wire on Tuesday October 10.

After working out for the Jets, Collins also scheduled a workout with the crosstown New York Giants, per Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network.

Collins Has Tons of Experience, a Massive Name

Collins is 30 years of age and is set to enter his No. 9 season at the NFL level.

The former LSU product has appeared in over 89 games and has made 86 starts since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2015.

Collins has played for two different NFL teams most recently spending time with the Cincinnati Bengals. He started the 2023 season on the PUP list as he was still recovering from a very serious knee injury he suffered in late December of 2022. According to Kelsey Conway he tore both his ACL and MCL.

However, the Bengals decided to cut bait on the talented offensive lineman in September.

The big man now appears healthy after getting “medical clearance” from his injuries, per NFL Insider Jordan Schultz of The Score.

Even though Collins is garnering interest from multiple NFL teams including both the Jets and Giants, Dan Duggan of The Athletic isn’t anticipating a “bidding war” between Big Blue and Gang Green.

Duggan’s informed opinion is that Collins is looking to “rebuild his value for the future” by finding the best situation in 2023.

In theory if he joins a team now for relatively cheap and proves he is still the same player he was pre-injury, then in next year’s free agency he could cash in at least one more time before he hangs up his cleats.

Jets Need to Consider Adding Collins to Help Replace Alijah Vera-Tucker

The Jets announced on X previously Twitter, that they officially placed offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker on injured reserve ending his 2023 season.

Head coach Robert Saleh confirmed that AVT tore his Achilles during the Week 5 matchup versus the Denver Broncos and would be forced to miss the rest of the current campaign.

AVT’s absence leaves a massive void to fill both literally and figuratively at the right tackle position.

The current options in-house are Max Mitchell and Billy Turner. Both players competed for starting gigs at the offensive tackle positions during training camp, but neither player secured a gig.

That is where the Jets will look to fill the void first, but the Collins exploration shows they’re willing to hit the upgrade button even if it comes from outside the organization.

I had Italy Jet on “Boy Green Daily” on Monday October 9 and asked him about the possibility of going after Collins.

“I would call Collins immediately regardless of what happens with AVT [this interview was recorded prior to the injury news becoming official],” Italy Jet explained. “Even if Vera-Tucker is fine or even if he’s out for a significant amount of time because I don’t trust Billy Turner.”

The future of AVT is a discussion for another day, but the Jets owe it to themselves to trot out the best possible five offensive linemen they can for the 2023 season. Collins when healthy has proven to be a reliable offensive lineman that can get the job done.

If the medical portion of the exam checks out, the Jets need to bring this big man in sooner rather than later.

Read More