From potential top ten draft pick to the most sought after undrafted free agent, possibly in league history. That is the path on which LSU offensive lineman La'el Collins has found himself after being linked to a murder victim. Now, it appears the 6-foot-5, 320 pound lineman is starting his free agency tour.
According to a report from KLEW TV in Idaho, Collins has been cleared as a suspect in the murder of Brittney Mills. Mills was shot multiple times on April 24. She was eight-months pregnant at the time of her death, with doctors able to deliver the baby, a boy named Brenton, but he died a few days later. Collins underwent a paternity test, but was found to not be the baby's father. Reports have indicated that, while Collins and Mills did date in the past, they had not had contact since September last year.
Collins' camp has stated that he will not sign with any NFL team until he is cleared of the investigation, which appears to be happening. It could also explain why Collins was in Texas Wednesday night to meet with the Dallas Cowboys. It is just the first of, what should be many, free agent visits for Collins, who will be looking for the right fit before joining a team.
NFL rules prevent teams from visiting with undrafted free agents at their homes or on campus prior to the completion of the prospect's school's final exams. Collins, who ddid not register for classes this week, cannot host a team visit until after Friday, when LSU will be complete with their exams; the rule does not prevent Collins from visiting with a team at the team's location.
As an undrafted free agent, Collins will only be able to sign a three-year contract worth a little over $1.5 million, as stipulated by NFL rules. With that limitation in place, Collins will likely be looking for playing time and personal comfort with whichever team he chooses, since all 32 teams will be able to offer the exact same contract.
Along with Dallas, the New York Giants, San Diego Chargers, Buffalo Bills, and Miami Dolphins are among the known teams interested in Collins. Buffalo head coach Rex Ryan had dinner with Collins in Baton Rouge earlier this week. Four Dolphins players, including former teammates of his at LSU, flew to Louisiana to spend the day with Collins on Tuesday.