FRISCO, Texas – Starting right tackle La'el Collins has been suspended without pay for the next five games for violating the NFL Policy on Substances of Abuse, the NFL announced Friday.
Collins will be eligible to return to the Cowboys' active roster on Monday, Oct. 18, following the team's Week 6 game at New England.
The suspension is a major blow to the Cowboys' offense following an impressive 451-yard performance in a 31-29 loss to the Tampa Bay Bucs in Thursday's season opener.
It was Collins' first start since 2019 after missing all of last season due to a hip injury requiring surgery. He has returned healthy from the injury this year, though he did miss a few days late in training camp with a neck stinger.
With Collins unavailable until mid-October, the Cowboys must look to their depth at tackle. Ty Nsehke and Terence Steele were the primary backups at left and right tackle in camp.
A more complex alternative would be moving six-time Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin (currently on the Reserve/COVID-19 list) out to right tackle, where he made two starts last season due to multiple injuries at tackle. But head coach Mike McCarthy said last week he hopes they don't have to make that type of line shuffle again.