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FRISCO, Texas – After no success in finding a suitable trade, the Dallas Cowboys released the right tackle La’el Collins on Thursday, designating it for a move after June 1st.
The move will save the Cowboys $ 10 million, which comes out of the books in June. However, he will count $ 8.7 million against the 2023 wage ceiling. Had the Cowboys chosen to release Collins without the designation or swap him, they would have saved only $ 1.3 million.
The Cowboys had trade discussions with teams in the NFL scouting combination and had given Collins’ agents, Deryk Gilmore and Peter Schaffer, the opportunity to seek a trade. The New England Patriots had interest, just as they had in Amari Cooper, according to sources, but Collins’ contract was an issue. Collins expects to have a good market with the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets among potential suitors. For the Cowboys, the release of Collins means Terence Steele will step into the starting lineup at right tackle.
Collins signed a five-year, $ 50 million contract extension in 2019 that brought guaranteed money into this season. However, a five-game suspension last year for violating the NFL’s drug abuse policy canceled the $ 6.48 million guarantees.
Over the last two seasons, Collins missed 21 of 33 games due to injury or exclusion. He did not play in 2020 due to a hip operation and started 10 of the 12 matches he played in 2022.
The Cowboys’ offensive line begins a transition. Left-winger Connor Williams agreed to a deal with the Dolphins. The Cowboys have Connor McGovern available to replace Williams, but could look to the draft – specifically in the first round at No. 24 – for a guard or center.
Collins signed with the Cowboys in 2015 as an outspoken free agent, after the circumstances saw him go from a potential first-round selection to not being selected at all after his name was linked to a murder investigation. The Cowboys signed him after a dinner at Jerry Jones’ house, where he was joined by coaches and soon teammates.
He began his career as a left-back but missed 13 games in 2016 due to a toe injury that required surgery. In 2017, Collins moved to the right tackle and started 47 of the next 48 games. He had his best season in 2019, but the hip injury has hurt his productivity since.
The Cowboys signed Steele as an expired free agent in 2020, and he has started 27 games in his first two years.