One of the biggest stories of the 2015 NFL Draft was the ongoing saga of LSU offensive lineman La'El Collins. A projected first round pick (and perhaps even top-15 pick), the report surfaced just days before the draft that police wanted to talk with Collins over the murder of his apparent ex-girlfriend. Considering the current climate of the NFL, teams began doing as much investigative work as possible to figure out what Collins' involvement was, and while police said that the lineman wasn't a suspect, that wasn't good enough for teams.
As a result, Collins wasn't drafted. His agents had tried to pull him out of the draft and get him in the supplemental draft, but that was denied. Then the reports surfaced that, if drafted on day three, Collins wouldn't sign a contract but would rather re-enter the draft next year. Since he went undrafted, however, he cannot re-enter the draft next season, meaning that we are in the unprecedented territory of having a likely first-round pick hit the open market as an undrafted free agent.
Because he is an undrafted free agent, the contract for him is pretty much set, though the signing bonus could be negotiated a bit. So in addition to Collins hitting the open market, this will also be a decision not based on money but rather what the best fit is for him as a player.
Because of all of that, many Colts fans have guessed that the team would stand a pretty good chance of getting Collins, as it would make a lot of sense for the lineman to go to a team with some offensive line question makes and an incredibly talented offense. It makes sense, but we shouldn't consider it as anything close to a given. First of all, he's not cleared yet, and nobody is signing him until that happens. But secondly, there's the question of just how much interest the Colts have in the lineman.
According to the Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder, citing a team source, said that the Colts only have "lukewarm" interest in Collins. And according to Holder, it might not have as much to do with the current investigation:
But where the Colts are concerned, even a stronger statement of exoneration from police might not be enough.
Team officials are obviously leery based on recent developments with the case. But it appears there was hesitation about Collins within the organization even before the case. The source did not detail the reasons for that.
Obviously, as Holder notes, none of this means that the Colts' won't sign La'El Collins, but it should pump the breaks on all of the talk at least a little bit.
For the Colts, it would be a very good move to bring him in (again, if cleared), as it would essentially be adding a first-round offensive lineman to their draft haul - and for super cheap. It would make sense to bring in a guy who could replace Gosder Cherilus at right tackle, which is something that a number of analysts have already pointed out the Colts failed to do in the draft. So it's easy to see why people have mentioned the Colts and Collins as a fit.
None of that means that it will happen, however, and it sounds like the Colts' interest in him isn't as strong as the interest of many Colts fans. One thing that is certain is that the La'El Collins situation will be one to watch over the coming days.