The Kansas City Chiefs may be in the market for soon-to-be free agent safety Landon Collins, according to a new report from NJ.com New York Giants beat reporter Matt Lombardo. The Giants told Collins he would not be receiving the franchise tag on Tuesday.
There will be a strong market for Landon Collins, now that #Giants opt not to tag or sign him to a new deal. My sense from talking with league sources last week is #Chiefs will make him a priority. Here are some potential landing spots: https://t.co/q2qwd8p8uw— Matt Lombardo (@MattLombardoNFL) March 5, 2019
Lombardo lists the Chiefs among five teams that could be in the mix for Collins.
LOMBARDO: The Chiefs will need to get creative if they hope to land Collins. However, sense around the league during the NFL Combine is that Collins would be among Kansas City’s prime targets if he reached free agency. After reportedly releasing Justin Houston, the Chiefs would create $14 million in addition cap space this offseason. General manager Brett Veach could essentially swap Houston for Collins and pair him alongside Eric Berry. Familiarity with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo could also help lead Collins to Kansas City. It is no secret that the Chiefs aim to bolster their defense this offseason, and Collins would push them closer to reaching the Super Bowl.
Whether the ultimate result is outright release or trade, it appears that linebacker Justin Houston has played his final game with the Chiefs. As Lombardo states, the Chiefs could use that money to bring Collins aboard.
Collins played safety under now-current Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo from 2015, his rookie season, to 2017, when Spagnuolo was let go by New York.
Our own Matt Lane covered how Spagnuolo used Collins in his initial piece on what the 4-3 under/hybrid defense change means for the Chiefs secondary.
LANE: The most important position in Spagnuolo’s defense is the strong safety, or at least in his most previous stint with the New York Giants. Landon Collins was used as a man defender against tight ends, running backs and occasionally wide receivers. He often was cutting, trapping or in a robber role when playing in zone and was a frequent blitzer off the edge or up the middle.
Later in the piece Lane also explains how Collins had his best seasons under Spagnuolo.
In addition to the reasons above, it is worth noting the Chiefs expressed interest in Collins at last year’s trade deadline, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Terez Paylor.
PAYLOR: The Chiefs expressed interest in Collins, but the Giants weren’t interested in trading him, Yahoo Sports has learned. Same goes for (Patrick) Peterson, who the Cardinals also weren’t open to trading.
Before eventually signing linebacker Anthony Hitchens and wide receiver Sammy Watkins during last offseason’s free agency, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach picked up the phone and called the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams, respectively, in 2017. Deals couldn’t be worked out at the time, but he eventually acquired the players.
At many points during this time of year, you’ll hear people reference “smoke.” That is short for, “If there is smoke, there is fire.”
When it comes to Collins, there is too much smoke—the Houston rumors, the Spagnuolo connection, the Veach history, oh, and a chance to play with the MVP—for there not to be fire.
As long as the Chiefs can figure out the cap space, Collins will be a Chief next season. At least, that is where I’d bet my money.