La’el Collins is heading to the Cowboys, according to a source.
The Cowboys met with Collins on Wednesday night, and successfully wooed the former LSU star to join them. It’s a major addition for the Cowboys, who already boast one of the top offensive lines.
Collins was projected to be a first-round pick in last weekend’s NFL Draft, but went undrafted because he was sought in questioning by Baton Rouge police in the April 24 shooting death of his pregnant former girlfriend Brittney Mills.
Collins has never been listed as a suspect and Baton Rouge homicide detectives have not wavered from that stance even after questioning him Monday night.
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Per the police, paternity tests revealed he was not the father of Mills’ son Brenton, who was born after her death, but died May 1.
Collins has maintained his innocence all along, telling police he wasn’t even in Baton Rouge during the time of the shooting.
After losing millions by not being draft, Collins has now found a home in Dallas. The Cowboys lured him in, and sold him on joining a line that could become an all-time great with Travis Frederick at center, Zack Martin at right guard and Tyron Smith at left tackle.
Doug Free is currently projected to be the right tackle, leaving Collins as a candidate to replace Ronald Leary at left guard. Collins started at left guard for LSU as a sophomore, and then moved to left tackle for his final two seasons.
Collins’ signing gives the Cowboys three of the top-22 players from this year’s draft class. Connecticut cornerback Byron Jones was the team’s first-round selection at 27th overall, and Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory slid to them in the second round because of off-field concerns.
Collins had plenty of suitors, but the Cowboys were the first team to bring him in on a road trip. He made a visit to Dallas on Wednesday night where he was greeted at the home of owner Jerry Jones with a full-court press from every level of the organization, per a source. In addition to Jones, coaches, players, including members of the offensive line and quarterback Tony Romo, were all on hand to woo Collins, per a source.
Rookie free agents sign three-year deals worth $435,000 in 2015, $525,000 in 2016, and $615,000 in 2017. It also comes with a modest signing bonus as teams can spend no more than $88,000 on all their rookie free agents.
Consider that the lowest signing bonus for a seventh-round pick is $52,000 and a top 20 first-round pick usally gets a four-year contract worth more than $10 million with a signing bonus in excess of $4 million.
Charean Williams, 817-390-7760