The Dallas Cowboys have signed offensive tackle La’el Collins to a $1.65 million contract over three years after other teams passed on him because of a controversy involving the murder of his ex-girlfriend. Collins, whose contract with the Cowboys is fully guaranteed, played college ball for Louisiana State from 2011 to 2014. He helped the team to a Southeast Conference championship in 2011, and earned freshman All-America honors in 2011 and First Team All-SEC honors in 2014.
Because of his history off the field, Collins went unselected in the recent concluded 2015 NFL Draft. But the Cowboys are willing to gamble on him as he was touted as a top prospect. Before signing with Dallas, Collins met with some Miami Dolphins players, and also with Rex Ryan, head coach of the Buffalo Bills, NFL.com reported.
What scared off NFL squads from drafting Collins is in his possible involvement with the death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Brittney Mills. Although questioned by police, he was not considered a suspect.
Collins’ agent is Deryk Gilmore, who also represents Nebraska’s Randy Gregory, the Cowboys’ second-round pick in the recent draft. Dallas also drafted Byron Jones as the 27th overall pick.
“There are a lot of great offensive tackles in the league. I like to try to pattern my game off of Jason Peters. I love him. He's a physical beast, man, and I like guys like that,” Collins told NFL.com in July 2014. “I like [Redskins tackle] Trent Williams, [Seahawks tackle] Russell Okung, great athletic, big tackles who are strong and physical. Those are the kinds of guys I try to take something from.”
The 6-foot-5 Collins, who a team captain at LSU, started all 13 games at left tackle for the Tigers in his senior season, leading the team in offensive snaps with 843, and knockdowns with 88.
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