There were rumors swirling about that the former Alabama Crimson Tide product would be dealt at the trade deadline last season. However, the Giants showed they were unwilling to part ways with him.
Collins is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent once the new league year begins on Mar. 13. There have been no discussions between the Giants and his representatives on a long-term deal so far. The team could elect to use their franchise tag on him as early as Tuesday and work out a new contract in the interim.
Collins was placed on season-ending injured reserve in each of the last two seasons. He had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder in December. The normal rehab time for such an injury is four to six months. The Giants will be in the middle of their voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) and mandatory mini-camp by then.
Collins has gone on the record with his desire to remain with the Giants, who selected him 33rd overall in the 2015 NFL Draft.
“My hopes are to be here, honestly. That’s my hopes,” Collins said in an interview after the team’s regular season finale. “Like I said from the beginning, I’ve been drafted here. I want to finish my career here. It’s a hope and it’s a dream of mine, and hopefully make it a reality.
“The process has not begun yet. Hopefully it begins soon. (General manager Dave) Gettleman announced it in the meeting today that guys that have contracts coming up, we’re going to talk about it when we have the chance to. So, it’s going to come down the line, and we’re going to have that discussion. I’m going to leave that up to my agency and go from there.”
Collins started all 59 of his career games with the Giants. He has 428 combined tackles (321 solo), 10 quarterback hits, four sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered, eight interceptions, 32 passes defended, and two touchdowns.
Collins is a three-time Pro Bowl selection (2016-18). In 2016, he became the only player in NFL history with at least 100 solo tackles, two sacks, five interceptions, and 12 passes defended in a season. He was named First-team All-Pro, was the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November, and finished third in NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting.
The Giants have until Mar. 5 to use their franchise or transition tag to prevent a player from entering free agency. If the team cannot reach a long-term deal or an extension with a player by July 15, the player would play 2019 on a one-year contract under the league’s assigned salary for their position. In the case of Collins, the one-year deal would be worth close to $13 million.