The Commanders are "expected to" release safety Landon Collins after three uneven seasons in Washington, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported on Thursday.
A source informed NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay of the coming release, too, while 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies tweeted about it in the morning.
The move helps the franchise clear up roughly $7 million of cap space, which it badly needed to do after acquiring Carson Wentz on Wednesday. Wentz is due $28 million this year alone.
Collins' best football for the Commanders came at the end of last season when he and the coaching staff agreed to consistently play him closer to the line of scrimmage, which allowed him to focus on being a force in the run-game, short passing game and as a blitzer.
Because of that resurgence late in 2021, he went from a liability — especially in coverage — to a difference-making defender. However, even with the improvement, there was no way Washington was going to proceed with Collins counting for more than $16 million against the cap as he was set to for 2022.
Therefore, it made sense for the organization to approach Collins about taking a pay cut, but clearly, the 28-year-old was not amenable to such an idea. Now, he'll hope to cash in elsewhere as a free agent.
In fact, ESPN's Josina Anderson reported that the Commanders recently approached Collins about taking two pay cuts — the first one "was fine," he said — yet after the second request (which came after the Wentz swap), he told her he'd rather take his chances on the open market.
The transaction ends Collins' career with the club, a tenure that began with very high hopes in 2019. Stealing him away from the Giants when he seemed poised to produce at an extremely high level for years to come was an exciting prospect for the team, one that's been searching for reliable safeties for quite a while.
Unfortunately, Collins failed to deliver for the majority of his time with Washington; he was a sketchy tackler and his lack of speed was often exposed, whether it was deep down the field or when he was trying to chase down opposing ball carriers.
By the time he settled into his new role to close out this most recent campaign, it was equal parts encouraging and frustrating. As that was happening, it was simultaneously easy (and reasonable) to wonder: Why didn't he and the staff put him in a spot where he could excel a lot sooner?
Those kinds of questions, though, are irrelevant now, at least in Collins' case. Wentz's arrival pushed him out the door, and he'll be added to the long list of players who joined this team with large contracts and large expectations only to leave without justifying the investment or hype.