Reports surfaced Monday that Collins and the Washington Redskins agreed on a six-year contract worth up to $84 million with $45 million guaranteed. This comes five days after the Giants announced they would not use their franchise tag on their 2015 second-round (33rd overall) draft pick out of Alabama.
Monday began the start of the period in which free agents can discuss and verbally agree to new deals. Free agents cannot officially sign with their new teams until the start of the new league year at 4:00 PM EDT Wednesday.
Collins, 25, is regarded as one of the NFL’s best young safeties. A three-time Pro Bowler, he finished third in NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2016. In 59 career NFL games, he has 428 combined tackles (321 solo), 22 tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hits, eight interceptions, 32 passes defended, three forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered, and a defensive touchdown.
“I feel like that’s the armor,” Collins said in a 2015 ESPN interview. “I’m wearing his armor. When I put that number on, I’m always representing him in any form or fashion. I try to do my best by it.”
This is the worst possible scenario for head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman. Giants fans are angry because they allowed Collins, a popular team leader who made plays on the field, walk away for nothing. Now the Giants will have to see him twice a season. And he will be motivated by the desire to stick it to the franchise who didn’t think he was worth $11 million under the franchise tag.
Collins will be the NFL’s highest paid safety at $14 million a season, edging out the Kansas City Chiefs‘ Eric Berry ($13 million). Redskins cornerback Josh Norman had his 2016 franchise tag rescinded by Gettleman as Carolina Panthers general manager. He later signed a five-year, $75 million ($50 million guaranteed) deal with the Redskins. Norman couldn’t resist taking a little dig at Gettleman on Twitter.
In ‘Gettleman’ WE Trust (All-DBs) securing the 💰🤑💰
— *Joshua R. Norman (@J_No24) March 11, 2019
The Giants will probably not sign anyone to a deal comparable to the one Collins just agreed to. Gettleman will take the money saved by not using the franchise tag and try to get multiple players to fill in holes. The Giants could ultimately receive a 2020 third-round compensatory draft pick, depending on what happens in free agency.