The Patriots are reportedly showing interest in an in-season tackle move
Over the summer the New England Patriots’ offensive tackle position was in the spotlight as multiple players at the position either struggled during training camp, or missed practices entirely due to injury. While the duo of left tackle Trent Brown and right tackle Calvin Anderson held up relatively well in Week 1 there are still concerns in the long-term for the group, not just at the top of the depth chart but in terms of depth.
Even though the season has already started, the Patriots may be looking to make a move to shore up that spot, in the form of a veteran signing.
According to Mark Daniels of MassLive, the Patriots “have shown interest” in recently-released Cincinnati Bengals tackle La’el Collins. Daniels did clarify with a second source that “the team’s level of interest is considered due diligence.”
Collins, 30, was signed as a UDFA out of LSU by the Dallas Cowboys in 2015. He’d go on to start 71 games over six years for the Cowboys, mainly at right tackle but also spending some time at left guard.
Prior to the 2022 season Collins was released by the Cowboys and signed with the Bengals. He made 15 starts at right tackle for Cincinnati last year, but tore his ACL and MCL late in the season (against the Patriots). Collins began this season on PUP, but was released by the Bengals on Tuesday.
At 6-foot-4, 314 pounds Collins has the build of the prototypical Patriots tackle. He was productive as a run blocker last year, but did allow 34 pressures and five sacks on 618 pass blocking snaps. His 44.2 PFF pass blocking grade was the worst of his career to this point.
As Daniels points out, the Patriots may just be doing their “due diligence” on Collins at this point, but it doesn’t take much to push due diligence to action. Beyond Anderson and Brown, the Patriots’ current tackle depth consists of rookie Sidy Sow and recent trade acquisitions Vederian Lowe and Tyrone Wheatley Jr. on the active roster, and Andrew Stueber on the practice squad.