Former Cowboy could be cap casualty after free agency moves

Former Cowboys tackle La’el Collins could be on the chopping block after his current team, the Bengals, landed his replacement earlier this offseason.

One of the biggest offensive line signings of last offseason could already be looking for a new team in 2023: former Dallas Cowboys tackle La’el Collins has suddenly found himself in a tenuous position.

Collins signed with the Cincinnati Bengals last year as part of the team’s drastic efforts to overhaul their offensive line and was at the time heralded as a fantastic free agent acquisition. After six years of anchoring the O-line in Dallas, Collins joined Cincy as the franchise’s most experienced right tackle and a crucial member of Joe Burrow’s bodyguard unit.

One year later, Collins turned out to be one of the bigger disappointment in the trenches who tore his ACL at a critical moment late in the regular season. To make his situation worse, he now has much stiffer competition for a starting role in the offensive line after the Bengals’ blockbuster signing of former Chiefs tackle Orlando Brown.

Brown will unequivocally slide into left tackle, shifting Jonah Williams to the right side (assuming Williams doesn’t force a trade) to vie against Collins for the starting right tackle job. All of this forces the Bengals to seriously consider releasing Collins and putting the extra money toward extending their more certain cornerstone franchise pieces.

Former Cowboys tackle La’el Collins could find himself swimming in free agency yet again

According to ESPN’s Ben Baby, the Bengals would only eat $3.3 million in dead money and save $6 million against the cap if they cut Collins before June 1.

It made sense for Cincy to move on from the injury-prone tackle after last season, and after the Orlando Brown signing, it makes even more sense for the Bengals and Collins to part ways in 2023.

Of course Cincy would want as much depth as possible in the O-line unit, one of their weaker positions in recent history; however, at Collins’ price point and given the expensive superstars the Bengals must extend in the future (Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins), the team may no longer be able to justify Collins’ hefty deal and health concerns.

Cincy also added a total wild card in the mix and just signed former Buffalo Bills tackle Cody Ford, telling Ford he would get a fair shot at taking over starting right tackle duties as Collins continues to rehab his ACL and Williams ponders over a trade.

Anticipate some tough decisions for the Bengals’ front office in the coming months.

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