The Cincinnati Bengals have officially signed La’el Collins to a three-year contract, the team announced Sunday.
A seventh-year pro by way of the LSU Tigers, Collins was a college free agent signee of the Dallas Cowboys in 2015. He spent his first six seasons (2015-21) with the Cowboys and played in 74 career games (71 starts), seeing action at both offensive guard and tackle.
A new bodyguard is in town! pic.twitter.com/OngcQjIFb5— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) March 20, 2022
The Cincinnati Bengals have done it.
According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport, free agent offensive tackle La’el Collins is joining the Bengals as the two sides are finalizing an agreement.
Paul Dehner reports it’s a three-year deal.
The #Bengals are finalizing an agreement with OT La’el Collins, sources tell me and @RapSheet. He was supposed to leave town today for another visit but Cincy didn’t let him go.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 20, 2022
While it was reported yesterday that Collins left Cincinnati after a two-day visit, the free agent offensive tackle was convinced to stay in town until a deal was finalized.
The 28-year-old Collins comes to the Bengals after being cut by the Dallas Cowboys this week as a cap casualty, saving the team $10 million.
Since entering the league in 2015, Collins has developed into one of the best tackles in football. He finished the 2021 season with an 82.0 PFF grade, which came after he missed all of 2020 due to a hip injury.
Collins was then suspended for five games of the 2021 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, regarding a missed drug test. Collins was suspended after allegedly trying to bribe the league’s drug-test collector, according to ESPN.
Prior to those setbacks, Collins had missed just one game from 2017-19. He missed all but three games in 2016 with a foot injury.
An undrafted free agent by way of the LSU Tigers in 2015, Collins began his career at left guard before eventually transitioning to right tackle, where he’s become a great starter when he’s on the field.
As long as Collins can stay on the field, he’ll be a major impact player for the Bengals, likely as the starting right tackle, and one of the best in the league at that. Heck, he’s the early favorite to be the Bengals’ best offensive lineman for the 2022 season. And he’d be the best lineman on a lot of NFL teams when healthy, so the Bengals are very lucky that he became available and were able to get him under contract.
After landing Alex Cappa and Ted Karras, the Bengals offensive line has gotten the upgrades it so desperately needed. Bengals fans could not have reasonably asked for a better offseason in terms of upgrading the biggest weakness on the roster.
For now, look for a Cincinnati Bengals 2022 offensive line looking like this:
- LT: Jonah Williams
- LG: Competition between Jackson Carman, Hakeem Adeniji and D’Ante Smith
- C: Ted Karras
- RG: Alex Cappa
- RT: La’el Collins