NFL News & Analysis

Cowboys RT La'el Collins suspended five games

Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle La'el Collins (71) blocks against the Washington Redskins at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys right tackle La’el Collins has been suspended five games for violating the NFL’s policy and program on substances of abuse. The Cowboys also confirmed the news.

Collins’ suspension stems from missed drug tests, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Friday.

Collins started Thursday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and registered a 72.3 overall PFF grade. He allowed three hurries on 69 pass-block snaps.

Dallas was without right guard Zack Martin on Thursday after he tested positive for COVID-19. Martin has not yet been activated from COVID-19/reserve.

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Big loss for the Cowboys OL: Collins earned a 72.3 PFF grade in 83 offensive snaps at right tackle against Tampa Bay on Thursday. He also earned a 68.8 pass-blocking grade and a 73.7 run-blocking grade in the game. He missed all of last season with a hip injury. Click here to find PFF's NFL player grades.

Two potential replacements: Terence Steele, a 2020 undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech, played 970 offensive snaps in Collins’ absence last season and is one of two possibilities to replace him again with the suspension. He earned a 50.3 PFF grade that ranked 70th among qualifying NFL tackles. Free-agent acquisition Ty Nsekhe, who posted a 71.2 overall PFF grade over the last two years, is the other tackle who could replace Collins. Click here to find PFF's NFL premium stats.


Don't expect a 2020 repeat: Fortunately, the Cowboys added Nsekhe after last season's complications at tackle. Nsekhe will be a downgrade from Collins, but not the dropoff the team experienced in 2020. Click here to find PFF's OL/DL matchup chart.

Little to no impact for the Dallas' fantasy options: With softer matchups on the way, we could see the Cowboys run the ball a little more and increase the usage of 12 personnel if Nsekhe's protection skills are a concern. Overall, this suspension shouldn't move the needle much for fantasy production purposes, but Dallas needs Tyron Smith to stay healthy while Collins is out. Click here to find PFF's 2021 fantasy projections.

PFF's 2021 Fantasy Football Draft Kit includes links to every article, tool and chart to best prepare you for your fantasy football draft. This will be updated regularly between now and Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season.


Cowboys lookahead changing before our eyes: La’el Collins' absence dramatically drops the Cowboys offensive line ranking and, in turn, their outlook in the betting market.  When the average lineman counts 0.42 points to the point spread, it's a drastic impact but when a team loses the seventh-best player at the position, it's an even bigger problem. Practice cautiousness when betting their upcoming games. PFF's Betting Futures Tool reveals betting opportunities within season win total and future markets.

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