Landon Collins
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There has been a lot of speculation on whether or not the New York Giants will slap safety Landon Collins with the franchise tag.

Jason Leach

Tuesday marks the first day teams can designate the franchise tag to one of their free agents. It’s a popular belief that the New York Giants will designate their franchise tag to 25-year-old strong safety Landon Collins.

The Giants traded up in the second round of the 2015 draft to take Collins with the 33rd pick. Collins started all 16 games as a rookie and finished the year with 112 tackles, nine pass defenses, one interception, and forced one fumble.

Collins enjoyed his best season in 2016 when he snagged a career-high 125 tackles, 13 pass defenses, intercepted five passes, four sacks and was named to the Pro Bowl while also recognized as First-Team All-Pro.

Many felt he should have won Defensive Player of the Year. More importantly, that season he helped the Giants reach the playoffs for the first time since winning Super Bowl 46.

Although his production dipped in 2017, he still had a solid season, recording 104 tackles, six passes defensed, two interceptions, and was once again voted to the Pro Bowl. He missed the season finale against the Washington Redskins due to a broken forearm.

Collins’s 2018 season was cut short when he tore his labrum in the Giants 30-27 overtime victory over the Chicago Bears in Week 13. Despite missing the last four games of the season, Collins led the team in tackles for the fourth year in a row with 96.

Leading the team in tackles in each of his four years, being named to three Pro Bowl teams, and along with one First Team All-Pro team, it’s safe to say Collins has been one of the best draft picks by the Giants over the last decade.

But the man who drafted Collins, Jerry Reese, is long gone and the current general manager Dave Gettleman has parted ways with several defensive players that were part of the Reese regime.

Gettleman has traded away players such as Jason Pierre-Paul, Damon Harrison and Eli Apple, and choose not to re-sign linebacker Devon Kennard last offseason. Fans are wondering if Collins is the next player Gettleman will move on from.

But it would make sense for the Gettleman to keep Collins and give him the franchise tag that would pay him around $12 million in 2019.

While Collins may struggle at times in pass coverage, his versatility to lineup at safety and at linebacker in defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s defense is paramount to the defense. In addition, he is one of the team leaders as he was named one of the Giants captains in 2018.

Finding players the caliber of Collins is hard to find, and if the Giants let him walk it will leave a huge void on the field and in the locker room.

Shortly after the season ended, Collins was asked about his contract situation.

“My hopes are to be here, honestly. That’s my hopes. Like I said from the beginning, I’ve been drafted here, I want to finish my career here. It’s a hope and it’s a dream of mine, and hopefully make it a reality”.

We may find out as early as Tuesday if Landon Collins will be in the New York Giants 2019 plan.

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.