The New York Giants have made the curious decision to let Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins hit free agency when the new league year starts in 2019, electing not to use a franchise tag before Tuesday's deadline that would have cost them $11.15 million.
The 25-year-old didn't have his best season in 2018 and missed the final four games after tearing his labrum, but he's still a three-time Pro Bowler and was a first-team All-Pro in 2016. Which means he should generate plenty of interest on the open market.
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If everything checks out with Collins' surgically-repaired shoulder, he should be in line for a big contract this offseason and teams looking for a difference-maker at the back of their defense should be salivating. At worst, he's a dynamic box safety and at his best he's of the do-it-all variety.
But what team will he ultimately sign with? We took a shot at handicapping his free agency over at SportsLine.
Here are the informational odds from SportsLine's oddsmakers:
Landon Collins team in Week 1 of 2019 regular season
Indianapolis Colts- 2/1
Green Bay Packers- 4/1
Washington Redskins- 5/1
Kansas City Chiefs- 6/1
San Francisco 49ers- 8/1
Dallas Cowboys- 8/1
Los Angeles Rams- 9/1
Houston Texans- 10/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 10/1
In Collins' best season back in 2016 where he intercepted five passes, made 125 tackles and recorded four sacks, he looked like football's premier playmaker and the idea that he could provide that again should drive up his price. Which is why the Indianapolis Colts are the favorites with more cap space than anybody in the NFL and a desire to bolster an improving defense.
And with Malik Hooker established at free safety, Collins would be an excellent fit on the strong side. He's at his best when he's in the box and that's where the Colts would ultimately need him with Hooker as the last line of defense in the back.
After trading away Collins' former Alabama teammate Ha Ha Clinton-Dix during the 2018 season, the Packers also have a need at safety. However, with completely different skill sets (Clinton-Dix is best in coverage), it's worth noting that Collins isn't an ideal replacement stylistically.
Looking a little further down the odds board, the 49ers are an interesting option at 8/1. With Jimmie Ward battling injuries the last couple years, they could stand to upgrade at both safety spots and the prospects of reforming that aforementioned Alabama secondary with Clinton-Dix (who is also expected to hit free agency) and Collins could be alluring.
The 49ers have plenty of cap space to pull that off and general manager John Lynch was a nine-time Pro Bowl safety who seems as likely as anyone to see the value in making a major investment at that position. That being said, the Colts are such a logical fit that it'd be hard to bet against them as a playoff team with a need at the position and a boatload of cash at their disposal.