Perception not meeting reality in free agency conversation around Landon Collins


Redskins fans can be an excitable bunch, particularly when it comes to safeties that mold their style of play after the late Sean Taylor. 

After releasing DJ Swearinger prior to Week 17 last season, Washington has a hole at the safety position. That, combined with recent news of Giants standout Landon Collins cleaning out his locker and possibly preparing to leave the organization, could mean an elite safety prospect hits the open market. 

Add it all up, and some 'Skins fans are drooling over the possibility of Collins joining the Redskins. 

Now is the time for a dose of reality. 

New York still controls Collins' contract situation. The Giants have about two weeks to decide if they're going to use the franchise tag on Collins, guaranteeing a $12 million salary for the 2019 season. 

Word is Collins doesn't want to be tagged, and might even skip offseason workouts if the Giants go that route. Skipping the offseason and skipping the regular season are very different. The other thing that could happen, however, is that the tag allows the two sides the time to negotiate a long-term deal to keep Collins in New York. 

Beyond the franchise tag, hurdles still remain before Collins could join the Redskins. 

The biggest hurdle? Cash. 

Washington has about $17 million in salary cap space available. The team will need around $9 million just to sign all of their selections in April's NFL Draft.

The 'Skins could make room for Collins, but that would mean shedding salary. Players like Zach Brown and Stacy McGee could be cap casualties, and there could be some cap relief if the organization can get a long-term extension done with Brandon Scherff. 

Still, Collins is a three-time Pro Bowler that also has an All Pro season on his resume. He's the top-rated safety looking at free agency.

He's going to cost a lot. 

Even if Washington opens up some cap space, maybe doubling their available room, the margins are still fairly small. 

The Colts have more than $107 million in cap space. The Jets have $102 million in space. There are eight other teams with at least $50 million in cap space.

If Washington can double their cap space, that would still be less than $35 million. 

The Redskins have a need at safety. Landon Collins might hit the open market. 

Those are facts. 

The Redskins signing Landon Collins in free agency sounds more like fan fiction. 

Never say never, but temper that excitement Redskins fans.