FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys have officially parted ways with La'el Collins.
The veteran tackle was released on Thursday with the Cowboys designating him a post-June 1 cut, meaning they will save up to $10 million on the salary cap.
That money won't be available to the Cowboys until June, but it allows Collins to sign with another team here in the frenzy of free agency.
It also signals the Cowboys are ready to turn the reigns over to Terence Steele at right tackle. Now things could change as we get through the rest of free agency and then the draft, but recent years have shown the Cowboys need to have three quality tackles, especially with the injury history of Tyron Smith.
But whatever happens with the offensive line, the Cowboys have made it clear Collins won't be included.
Collins originally signed with the Cowboys in 2015 as an undrafted rookie with first-round talent. He quickly moved into the starting lineup at left guard and played there for two seasons, then took over at right tackle in 2017 after longtime starter Doug Free retired.
The Cowboys signed Collins to a five-year, $50 million contract extension in 2019, arguably his best season. The offensive line gave up a career-low 23 sacks on quarterback Dak Prescott that year.
But Collins has been in and out of the lineup since. He missed the entire 2020 season due to a hip injury requiring surgery, and last year he served a five-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy (reportedly over missed drug tests).
Collins' appeal of the suspension in federal court was denied, and Steele played well at right tackle for six starts. Collins eventually reclaimed his spot and started the final seven games, including the Cowboys' playoff loss to San Francisco.
Collins becomes yet another veteran starter off the roster, including Randy Gregory, Connor Williams and Amari Cooper.