NFL News & Analysis

Landing spots for Dallas Cowboys RT La'el Collins: Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals and more

Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle La'el Collins (71) pass protects against Seattle Seahawks defensive end Dion Jordan (95) in the second quarter in a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shane Roper-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of NFL teams need offensive line help as we close in on the start of free agency, and there are likely more available starting spots than there are available players to fill them.

With the new league year just days away, some teams will be investigating potential trades to see if they can attack the need via a different avenue. One such potential candidate is Dallas Cowboys right tackle La’el Collins, who is reportedly the subject of trade discussions right now.

Here are the six teams that should be on the phone.

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Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati has one mission this offseason: repair their offensive line so that quarterback Joe Burrow has the platform to keep this team a Super Bowl contender.

The Bengals made the big game this year, but that was an overachievement, and the offensive line was a massive problem late in the season. The right side of the line was tissue-paper thin and hemorrhaged pressure at a troublesome rate throughout the playoffs. Cincinnati needs to add three, maybe four, new starters in one offseason, so the more ways they can attack it, the better.

Collins has earned 70.0-plus PFF pass-blocking grades in three straight seasons compared to the 39.7 mark Isaiah Prince posted for the Bengals in 2021.

Denver Broncos

Now that Denver has quarterback Russell Wilson, the offensive line stands out as the team's only weak area on offense. Left tackle Garett Bolles is solid at one tackle spot, but Bobby Massie is scheduled to hit free agency, opening up a starting spot on the right side that they would be smart to fill with a proven veteran like Collins.

Denver is obviously now light on trade collateral after making the move for Wilson, but they can find enough to tempt Dallas if they want to, and this is a team that has to think their window for attacking a Super Bowl just opened.

Wilson’s primary gripe in Seattle was that the team could never protect him with a good enough offensive line, so the Broncos would be wise not to head down that road from the outset with a problem spot at right tackle.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Very little went right for the Jaguars last season, and the Urban Meyer experiment was cut short after a series of disasters both on and off the field. There may be little left to salvage, but the thing that has to be is Trevor Lawrence at quarterback.

Lawrence was billed as a generational prospect at the position — the best to come along since Andrew Luck or maybe even as far back as Peyton Manning — but showed little of that promise in Year 1. The situation around Lawrence was rotten, with little help from the scheme, protection or receiving corps.

This offseason needs to change that. Left tackle Cam Robinson has been franchise tagged (again), but that shouldn’t prevent the team from going after a quality right tackle, as they really need four new starters on the line.

Las Vegas Raiders

Derek Carr is a good quarterback playing somewhere near his best in recent seasons but has now been rendered arguably the fourth-best passer in the AFC West now that Denver acquired Russell Wilson.

For the Raiders to compete, they need to put a supporting cast around Carr that helps bridge that gap, and that needs to start on the offensive line. Last year’s first-round pick, Alabama's Alex Leatherwood, was disastrous at right tackle — 18 pressures and six penalties in four games — before being slightly less disastrous inside at guard, so he absolutely shouldn't stop the team from going after an upgrade on the right side. Collins would allow Leatherwood to stay inside and hopefully take a significant step forward.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins are another team that needs a complete offensive line overhaul. Robert Hunt is the only member of the incumbent line that has shown he is worth starting long-term, and even Hunt had a PFF grade of 67.4 last season.

The Dolphins would be wise to attack the unit in free agency and the draft but also have the capacity to turn to the trade market as well and snag a sure thing. Miami’s line surrendered a massive 235 total pressures last season, by far the most in the league despite being pretty well protected schematically by RPOs and quick-game passing.

New York Giants

The Giants aren’t yet sure if they have a quarterback in Daniel Jones, but they won’t have any way to find out unless they fix their offensive line. When the unit was playing reasonably at the start of last year, Jones was grading well. He earned the No. 5 PFF grade (86.7) over the first month of the season before injuries started to bite and the line fell to pieces.

Andrew Thomas made major strides on the left side of the line, but Nate Solder on the right side was past his best and is now departing. The Giants are a long shot, given they play in the same division as Dallas, but it would represent a massive coup for the team if they were able to prise somebody like Collins away and weaken a division opponent at the same time as solving an area of need.

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