Agent: La’El Collins won’t play this year if not drafted tonight

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LSU offensive tackle La’El Collins, a first-round talent whose draft stock plummeted when police said they wanted to question him in a murder case, plans to sit out the 2015 season if he is not drafted tonight.

Collins’s representatives are saying that if he’s not selected in Rounds 2 or 3, he won’t play. If a team drafts him in Round 4 or later, he’ll decline to sign with that team, and he also wouldn’t sign as an undrafted free agent. Instead, Collins would re-enter the 2016 draft.

Although the police are not saying Collins is a suspect in the murder of his ex-girlfriend, it’s extremely unlikely that Collins will be drafted tonight because police haven’t publicly exonerated him. So if Collins is serious about this, he’s probably not going to play this year.

But it remains to be seen whether Collins is serious about this. If he goes undrafted and is exonerated, he’ll have many teams offering to sign him as an undrafted free agent. He might then decide that he’d rather make the hundreds of thousands of dollars he can make this season as an undrafted rookie than make zero this year and roll the dice on some team drafting him in the first round and paying him millions next year.

For now, however, Collins has much more serious issues to deal with. He’s scheduled to speak with the police on Monday.

127 responses to “Agent: La’El Collins won’t play this year if not drafted tonight

  1. What?!? What possible advantage is it to sit out a year and delay a) being paid your first contract and b) reaching free agency. Not to mention no one will spend a first rounder on fat dude who’s rusty who again (see Mike Williams….)

    Unless you are guilty of something and are pressing the issue so that you can get paid right now….

  2. Yeah, I don’t see him pulling an Elway by threatening or actually sitting out. Roll the dice and you may end up with craps. A lot can happen between this year and next. Take the money now. There’s not that much of a difference from being a 3rd to a 4th. Besides, if your agent is as smart as he thinks he is, he’ll be creative with some obtainable incentives given the circumstances. Besides, he’ll hit FA faster if he falls later.

  3. Im not sure what the circumstances are but it’ll be unfortunate if he’s affected adversely due to a crime he wasn’t a part of. 1st round to undrafted is a HUGE difference in pay.

  4. He should have met with the cops a few days ago when this first broke. That was mistake number 1. Now it snowballs…

  5. Terrible idea. It’s better be playing for minimum rookie wage with the potential of earning much more than stacking shelves and chancing being drafted highly next year after playing no football for 12 months.

  6. Hes missing the point. If you dont want to be drafted in the late rounds answer the question on teams minds. Is the child yours? If not that would subtract a possible motive.

  7. If he’s totally innocent, I can’t blame him for taking this position. He’ll get a much better four (or five) year contract next year.

  8. Because if there’s one thing every rookie needs, it’s an extra year off not playing football at all.

    Solid plan, champ.

    Try Googling “Hernandez, Aaron” if you want to know why no team will draft you tonight.

  9. “That seems selfish and violative of the draft system itself. Where will it lead? I advise against it.” – Eli Manning

  10. I think this is a good plan. If he is drafted low, his paycheck will be much smaller than if he is drafted high. As I understand it, draft salaries are written in stone.

    He is in much better shape to skip the draft, then sign on as a free agent after he is cleared and with a substantially higher paycheck.

    If he is guilty of murder it does not matter much to him, he won’t be playing in the NFL. If he is innocent, he is worth first round money.

  11. Nobody is drafting him in the first or second next year after sitting out a year…and theres going to be other OT’s that are “hot prospects” – a year younger – and have none of these issues.

  12. If he really thought there was a risk he’d be charged with this, he would not be bothering with statements like this. He’d be 100% focused on not going to jail. This feels like a kid who has had his name dragged in the dirt for something he didn’t do. He’s more focused on his draft stock than spending a life behind bars. Sounds like he’ll be cleared when the dust settles.

  13. Yeah, sit out, that will help your status next season. Your agent is an idiot.

  14. footballluvindude says:

    May 1, 2015 5:41 PM

    Can he do that? I don’t think so

    _____________________

    Short answer: Yes

    Long answer: Yes. Bo Jackson was drafted first overall in the 1986 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He opted to play baseball for the Kansas City Royals, who had drafted him in the fourth round in the 1986 amateur draft. Jackson held true to his threat not to sign with the Bucs. Bucs lost rights to him. Raiders drafted him in 1987 and obtained his rights. He then joined the team after the baseball season ended with the Royals.

  15. What is going on with these agents? The Balls on these guys asking for more money for their over paid, child beating RB and now this?
    They are also part of the problem.

  16. “Can he do that? I don’t think so”

    He certainly can. Any player may decline to sign if drafted and the team that drafted him retains his right only until the draft the following year. If they can’t work out a deal in that time he has every right to refuse to sign and re-enter the draft in 2016.

  17. This seems to be a ploy by the agent to not lose out on his payday. First rounder to undrafted. The agent is going to “lose” a ton. Taking this kind of stance will probably result in this kid not being drafted. I doubt he ever plays a down in the NFL with that attitude

  18. if my name were mentioned in a murder investigation and I had nothing to do with it I would be on the first plane back to where I needed to be and answer all the questions they wanted as soon as I could, but first he can’t be found and then must wait until after the draft before he talks with the cops? I hop goodell lowers the boom on any team that drafts him.hit them as hard as he possibly can to send a message the league will not deal with people with questions like this about them. if he is found not to have had anything to do with it then he is a free agent and can sign with anyone but it is his fault not the leagues. the cops even said he is not a suspect they just want to question him so why the delay?

  19. If he isn’t drafted, can he sign a one-year contract as a rookie free agent, then become a restricted or unrestricted free agent after one year? I think rookies are owned by their team for three or four years, but if he could play this year and then have a chance at a payday next year, that would be the better option.

  20. For the sake of argument, let’s assume he’s totally innocent and his name gets cleared in a month. If he goes undrafted, couldn’t he just sign with any team? And couldn’t that team agree that he was a first or second roundish talent and sign him to a contract in that ballpark? I know there’s a rookie cap, but it would seem that a team without a first round pick or a team with less than normal picks could make it work. Would that work?

  21. This isn’t a terrible plan… IF he knows he’ll be exonerated and IF he thinks he can get a second-round or higher selection next season. The difference between getting taken in the top 50 and being taken with one of the last few picks is a couple million dollars over four years. While it pushes him later to reach free agency, it also doesn’t lock him in for peanuts for his first four years.

    Problem is, he may well not be able to get a decent pick next year after taking a year off.

  22. Called it!

    Why sign for a team and be locked in a restricted freeagent contract for 4 years, when he can keep himself working out with an ex-coach and get drafted next year.

    He doesn’t have to sign any contract if drafted, and as long as he doesn’t play professionally in 2015, then his rights become available again in the 2016 draft.

    Collins is only 21 years old, so coming in next year at 22 will still make him a young draft choice. Go back and study some more, clear your name, and remain focused.

    He will almost certainly be a late 1st to early 2nd round selection in 2016.

  23. Of course he can do that. Just because a team drafts you doesn’t mean you have to sign with them. They just own your rights for a year and you can’t sign elsewhere as a rookie free agent.

    But if no team does draft him then no team owns his rights and he is free to sign with the highest bidder as an undrafted free agent and doesn’t have to re-enter the 2016 draft.

  24. Not buying his BS. As crappy as his lawyer may seem to be, you can bet his services aren’t free. If he is offered a contract, he will take it.

    Stop with the public exoneration thing. It is not going to happen until the investigation is complete and shows someone else did it And he is not involved. That will take weeks if not months

  25. The only possible reason I can think of that he would be doing this is to try to “scare” a team into drafting him tonight rather than waiting until later to draft. For example, say teams are planning to draft him but think they can get him in a later round. He’s now saying “You can’t get me in a later round because I won’t play for you”

    It may work, it may not. Regardless, it’s a pretty stupid strategy and I think has a better chance of backfiring on him.

  26. This is a horrible idea, and all about the agent trying to protect his big fat commission.

    He has no prayer of staying in condition for a year without having a team to work out with, practice with, and play games with. Lifting and running is only half the battle. So he will be way behind the curve in next year’s draft. But the bigger factor will be money.

    In the meantime, if/when he is completely cleared, which could take a while, he will get multiple UDFA offers. Those offers will be enough to let him know that sitting out is a dumb move. Minimum wage on the street is nowhere near 400k/year like it is in the NFL. All he needs to do is do a one-year deal, and he can work his way in, and sign a better contract after he gets a little leverage back.

  27. This is completely ridiculous. If he is truly innocent isn’t it kind of best not to get drafted at this point. He has a first round grade and talent so if he goes undrafted then gets cleared teams will be lining up to sign him as an undrafted FA and I don’t believe there is a cap on those contracts. So he can get teams of his choice to bid for his srervices til he finds the best contract and system for him. Dude needs to find a new agent.

  28. This agent and Adrian Peterson’s agent should be in a contest to see who is the dumbest agent. I give a slight edge to Peterson’s agent, but the Collins saga is only beginning so his agent has plenty of room and time to catch up.

  29. He’s not really in a position to be calling the shots. He should be grateful to be taken in the 7th.

  30. Now you’ve put off talking to the cops until MONDAY ??? You REALLY think some team will draft you tonight with this hanging over you ?? And if they don’t , you’ll take your ball and go home ??? You and your agent couldn’t blow your noses if your brains were DYNAMITE !!!

  31. Really messed up on the police’s end to let this get out to the media and possibly destroy this guy’s career, reputation. We, as the audience, shouldn’t know who cops want to talk to because that creates a false impression from the start.

  32. If he is going to jail they want their cut of this year’s contract. 3% of nothing next season is nothing. Last season 2nd-3rd rookies got approximately $3mil so that could be $100K in that agents pocket if he ends up being guilty and not signing at all. I’m not saying he is guilty. But if he is and these agents know he is. Well.

  33. Hope his agent isn’t giving him that advice. If he doesn’t play this year, then teams will not seriously consider him for the 1st round next year, which means he will lose more money. Not playing for a full year and then trying to prove he can just go out and play, that’s not smart.

  34. I don’t get it. If he goes undrafted, can’t he still go to the highest bidder and get the millions?

  35. His agent is an Idiot. If he is cleared not getting drafted is way better than getting drafted, pick a team, sign the shortest length that gets you to the 2nd big contract faster

  36. One thing NFL teams like, to be threatened. I feel sorry for this guy because he probably didn’t do anything, and on top of it all, he’s going through a personal tragedy, but threatening anybody because they won’t give you a job at the pay grade you wanted isn’t going to fix that.

  37. I think the point of his agent saying he wouldn’t play at all if not drafted tonight is b/c teams WOULD take a flyer on him in later rounds meaning much less money for the player & agent so OFC the agent would say he won’t play this year so they have room to negotiate a deal later (and not be stuck with a 6th round salary for example) if he’s exonerated.

  38. If he does sit out a year, and he ends up being exonerated by the police, teams will NOT hold it against him. (Assuming he stays in shape.)

    This is a reasonable approach for him to take.

  39. His lawyer/agent is making the main character’s in Dumb and Dumber look like Rhodes scholars.

  40. Perhaps all of this demanding talk by his agent is a ploy to not get him drafted at all this year.

  41. Pissing off the guys with billions of dollars by dropping ultimatums seems to indicate this guy ate lots of paint chips.

  42. Take him with your last pick of the seventh round and squat on him. Next year: do it again. Repeat until he signs. Then you may get a first-round talent for a couple of seventh round picks.

  43. spyder9669 says:
    May 1, 2015 6:26 PM

    Somebody is gonna steal this guy in the 3rd. I really hope its the Vikings. Odds are he’s innocent. Winners take chances.

    You just contradicted your own statement

  44. Why is this announcement getting so much vitriol. Am I taking crazy pills or is this not the sanest, most reasonable way to handle a horrible situation?

    Let’s assume that he didn’t murder his pregnant girlfriend (because if he did, then obviously any word that has anything to do with football is a wasted one, and it doesn’t matter what his agent says):

    Why should a consensus Top 10 pick feel obligated to sign for 4 years to whatever rink-a-dink deal he’s going to be slotted for as a 4th round pick? When he entered the draft, he didn’t write his name to a blank contract to let any team fill in whatever terms they want.

    He had horrrrrrrible luck on the timing to go in for questioning, so he’s gonna go ahead and see if he’ll have better luck next year.

    As for those who say this will only add to his list of character issues: again, assuming he didn’t murder anyone, what’s the list of character issues? Once he’s cleared of that, how bad are teams really gonna hold against him making a sound business decision?

    As for him “not being able to stay in shape,” even if that’s true (I’m not certain it is), how long is it going to take him to get back in shape. Cedric Obowuefiouwef is a comparable talent who is going to be out most of the year, and he just got picked in the first round.

    As for those who say it’s dumb for him to pass up on UDFA, this press release isn’t a binding agreement. He still can. If a team wows him with a deal once he’s cleared of charges, maybe he just might sign it. This sets the tone at the negotiating table though: I’d sooner try my luck in next year’s draft than sign to a long-term commitment for pennies.

    Of course, maybe he did murder his pregnant girlfriend, and that’s why we’re all ready to throw him and his agent under the bus, but if that’s the case, then this report has nothing at all to do with why their party deserves criticism. In that scenario, the whole murdering their pregnant girlfriend thing is the real issue, and no matter what any representative says, he shouldn’t be playing in the NFL ever.

  45. he WILL get drafted tonight. It’s just a really unfortunate situation. His old girlfriend was murdered. That’s something hard to take for anyone, much less a young man. Feel sorry for the guy, rather than ridicule him.

    But if he is not drafted because it takes a few more days for police to announce he will never be suspect, then he could sit out the year and get much bigger pay day next year.

    There is literally NO chance the police would not be talking to every known recent boyfriend of this poor girl and they also would want to find out who is the father of the child, simply because murders are sometimes committed by significant others or former flames and former significant others do have a lot of info on the person they used to be in relationship with and that info can help police.

  46. I think for him (if he had nothing to do with the girl’s death) to sit out a year is the best thing to do. He is a beast on the OL. He can get his name cleared and still be eligible for next year’s draft. That way there is no baggage surrounding him. His agent is actually looking out for him. 1st round talent so it makes perfect sense.

  47. commenter says:
    May 1, 2015 6:07 PM
    He’s not really in a position to be calling the shots. He should be grateful to be taken in the 7th.
    ====

    Why would a first round talent, who in his mind hasn’t done anything wrong, be grateful to be taken in the 7th?

  48. Man I’m glad I wasn’t as STUPID as these guys when I was their age!

  49. icebowler says:

    If he’s totally innocent, I can’t blame him for taking this position.
    ==================================

    If he was totally innocent, he would have had no reason to not speak with the police days ago.

  50. I’m glad to hear so many people would be cool, calm and collective after losing out on millions of dollars. Especially from a situation like this if you were in fact innocent. You’d make all the right decisions, I know. Pffff

  51. What if someone takes him in the 7th round and he doesn’t sign? Does he automatically become eligible for the draft next year or does that team own him to a degree?

  52. Dear dumb agent,
    If Collins is found completely innocent and had nothing to do with the murder, he can still sign a BIG free agent contract with 1st round type money. If he is completely exonerated, the money could even be bigger since multiple teams could bid on him.

    If he has any involvement with the murder, drafted or undrafted he is screwed.

  53. He should say that and scare teams away from using a low pick on him. Then, if this legal stuff clears, he can go sign a free agent deal with the Pats, Seahawks, or whomever. This guy is a beast in the run game and probably my favorite lineman in the draft.

  54. I don’t feel sorry for this guy I feel sorry for the dead girl and her family. By acting like a baby hes making it all the worse.

  55. Still can’t understand why the Baton Rouge police simply couldn’t send a couple of guys to speak with Collins – or with today’s technology – why he couldn’t have gone into a Chicago police department and speak with their Baton Rouge colleagues via a video conference call.

    If this guy is innocent, then I wonder what kind of backlash this may have on the police for making it seem that Collins isn’t simply someone they would like to speak with, but more a ‘person of interest’.

  56. He’s doing EXACTLY the right thing.

    1. If he goes undrafted, signs as an undrafted player contract for a minimal 1 year deal and gets injured, he’s done. With very little money to live on.

    2. If he gets drafted in the 6th or 7th, he gets no guarantees and will be a restricted free agent after 2-3 years and will make limited money.

    3. If he sits out, plays arena or CFL, and performs well, reenters in 2016 with the same value, he stands to gain himself 10-16 million more dollars over the next 4-5 years depending on where he goes.

    This all, of course, depending on his innocence.

  57. You couldn’t stay away from a murder investigation leading up to the biggest day of your life.

    What’s the chance this guy can go an entire year without ending up on the wrong side of the law?

  58. Doing this could possibly be smart business financially, but talking about it is certainly counterproductive. Such claimed willingness to sit out a year will hurt his stock more, making it more likely he falls out of the third.

    If he’s drafted in the fourth, he should probably suck it up, he’ll be lucky to go in the second if he sits out a year.

    He definitely won’t be undrafted. I’m hoping he gets drafted in the sixth or seventh, just to see what will happen.

  59. UDFA’s are not eligible for free agency for their first 3 years (assuming they are tendered in their 3rd year) regardless whether they initially sign a 1 year or 3 year contract.

  60. blowfishes says:
    May 1, 2015 6:59 PM

    “Still can’t understand why the Baton Rouge police simply couldn’t send a couple of guys to speak with Collins – or with today’s technology – why he couldn’t have gone into a Chicago police department and speak with their Baton Rouge colleagues via a video conference call.”

    The investigation isn’t affected by a short delay in his interview, so the police don’t care. The one who should care is La’El. He should’ve jumped on a plane the minute he became a person of interest to give him a clearer shot at the draft. His fault, not the police’s fault.

  61. If he goes undrafted, but is so talented that multiple teams would be interested if/when he is cleared, couldn’t he just go to the highest bidder? Is there a rule that says undrafted rookies can only be paid a certain amount?

  62. You guys need to settle down and stop passing all this judgement. The kid has had no chance to clear his name in this short time.. It has nothing to do with flying back to Baton Rouge quickly. The police are going to take their time. He has no control over that part.

    Unless he proven guilty his future earnings are being unfairly discounted through no fault of his own. And we are talking about $4 or $5 million over the next four years.

    He deserves every chance to protect that income stream. The Commish is a jerk for not pulling him out of the draft and moving him over to the supplemental.

    The idea of the NFL using this as and excuse to pay the kid 15% of what he is worth sickens me.

    Innocent until proven guilty

  63. Not a bad bluff. Being a UDFA is more attractive than being stuck as a 4th rounder. He probably scared off most teams that were going to take him.

  64. The difference between end of 3rd round last year and end of 7th round was $116k/year on the 4 year rookie contract.

    If he is drafted in the 7th this year, and doesn’t sign he’ll skip receiving around $600,000 and be one more year away from getting to a bigger 2nd contract.

    There is no guarantee that after sitting out next year, he would still be drafted in the 1st or 2nd round, so the amount he’d lose by skipping a year would be greater than the difference if he is drafted today versus tomorrow.

    Bottom line is that when he and his accountant sit down and do the math, they’d sign a 7th round contract this year so this is a completely empty meaningless threat by his agent.

  65. “if my name were mentioned in a murder investigation and I had nothing to do with it I would be on the first plane back to where I needed to be and answer all the questions they wanted as soon as I could”

    Metalhead, never talk to the police. Ever. Any cop will tell you that. Don’t talk. You have the remain silent, use it. Let your lawyer do all the talking.

  66. Saints will draft him in the 3rd. Mickey Loomis killed the girl with this strategy to grab Collins the 3rd. ABsolutle Genius Loomis. Making it happen. Just sit and wait, this will happen soon.

  67. Dudes draft stock is nose diving, while his prime suspect stock is THROUGH THE ROOF!

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