The Cowboys are releasing starting Right Tackle La’el Collins today. The move is being designated as a June-1st cut, meaning Dallas will receive $10 million in additional cap space after June 1st from Collins’ contract.
After missing all of 2020 with a hip issue and a five-game suspension in 2021, Collins’ status with the team was uncertain coming into the offseason. Dallas’ efforts to elevate Terence Steele into the starting lineup throughout last year, even when La’el was healthy, made the issue between player and management very clear.
Now the Cowboys will go into 2022 with Steele as the clear starter at right tackle, barring any surprise additions over the next few months.
Collins has been a Cowboys since 2015 when Dallas signed him after the 2015 NFL Draft. Seen as a potential 1st-Round prospect, La’el went undrafted when he was part of an investigation into a shooting death during the pre-draft process.
After a few years of struggling to find a role, Collins settled in at right tackle and emerged as one of the NFL’s best at the position. But then a chronic hip issue cropped up in 2019 and eventually led to surgery the following offseason.
Collins was suspended for five games in 2021 for missed drug testing. He tried to appeal and managed to play in Week 1 but then sat out the next five. When he came back, the Cowboys did not immediately give him the job back and were intent on seeing what Terence Steele could do.
La’el eventually retook his starting job after Thanksgiving and held it the rest of the season. But now, he’ll be looking for his next job elsewhere in the NFL.
Dallas will be able to use the extra $10 million later this offseason to sign their 2022 rookies and perhaps sign additional free agents. They will now carry an $8.7 million in dead money on the 2023 salary cap by making Collins a June-1st release.