The New York Giants’ offensive line tanked their season opener on Sunday night, surrendering seven sacks to the Cowboys. With injuries and poor performances plaguing the line, the Giants may look to add talent up front.
The Cincinnati Bengals recently released RT La’el Collins from the PUP list, a player most well-known for his time spent as a stalworth on the Dallas’ Cowboys offensive line from 2015-2021. The Giants could consider kicking the tires on Collins and taking a chance on the veteran to bolster their depth on the offensive line.
What could La’el Collins bring to the Giants?
Collins, 30, is a right tackle with seven years of NFL experience. He spent the first six seasons of his career with the Dallas Cowboys before signing with the Cincinnati Bengals last offseason. Collins made 15 starts for the Bengals in 2022.
Unfortunately, Collins’ season was cut short as he suffered a torn ACL on Christmas Eve in Week 16. He spent this summer on the PUP list (physically unable to perform) while recovering from the injury. The Bengals, rather than waiting for Collins to recover, are choosing to free up cap space by releasing the veteran tackle.
The Giants need support on the offensive line and, if he is healthy, Collins could be a solid addition. Throughout his career, Collins has always been a quality starter at right tackle; especially during his time in Dallas.
After joining the Bengals in free agency, Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus wrote, “Collins represents the Bengals’ biggest addition in their offseason efforts to rebuild their offensive line and do a better job of protecting Joe Burrow moving forward.”
Collins posted back-to-back seasons in 2019 and 2021 (missed the 2020 season) with PFF run-blocking grades of 89.0 or higher. He is a dominant run-blocker on the right side when healthy and could likely provide the Giants with a higher floor in pass protection, too.
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Where could Collins fit into the lineup?
Collins has experience playing left guard in the NFL, but the majority of his career has been spent at right tackle. Currently, Giants RT Evan Neal is not playing well enough. He was disappointing as a rookie last season and he was a liability in Week 1 against the Cowboys. Collins could be an eventual solution to the Neal problem if the second-year right tackle does not turn things around quickly.
Neal struggles to protect the edge, demonstrating a lack of quickness in his lower body. One possible solution to this problem could be to move Neal inside to right guard. Starting RG Mark Glowinski was also terrible on Sunday night, earning a 1.0 Pro Football Focus grade in pass-blocking as he surrendered three sacks and nine pressures.
Glowinski could be moved out of the starting lineup in favor of giving Neal a crack at right guard. This would leave an opening at right tackle that could then be filled by Collins.
He may not be a long-term solution for Big Blue on the offensive line, but the Giants need to turn their season around quickly if they still want to have a chance of making the playoffs. Anything is better than what New York put on the field in Week 1 and, if he is healthy and ready to compete, Collins could bring some experience and reliability to the right side of the Giants’ offensive line.