FRISCO, Texas — With contract talks primarily focused on Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott, the Dallas Cowboys have agreed on a 5-year extension with another key piece, right tackle La’el Collins, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The deal, which ties Collins to the Cowboys for the next six years, will make Collins one of the NFL’s five highest-paid right tackles, according to Schefter.
Two weeks ago, the Cowboys signed linebacker Jaylon Smith to a five-year, $64 million extension with $35.3 million guaranteed.
The deal with Collins is a little more surprising because of the contracts the Cowboys have laid out for Pro Bowl offensive linemen Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin. All three are among the highest paid at their positions, which would seem to have made it difficult to keep Collins while also aiming to keep Elliott, Prescott, Amari Cooper and others. Smith is in the midst of an eight-year $96 million deal, Frederick in the midst of a six-year, $56 million deal and Martin signed a six-year, $84 million deal last year.
This is the third contract Collins has signed with the Cowboys. He initially joined the team as an undrafted free agent in 2015. In 2017, he signed a two-year extension that included $15.4 million in guaranteed money. He was set to make $8.5 million this year.
On Monday, Collins was asked about his decision to join the Cowboys in 2015.
“Obviously I think this is been one of the best things that happened to me going in,” Collins said. “For me, it prolonged my career in a way of the coaching I’ve been able to get since I’ve been here, coming in working with Coach Frank (Pollack) the way he helped me develop as a player, the way Coach (Marc) Colombo helped me develop as a player. Just learning some things from those guys, learning things from veteran guys when I got here has really helped me. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. So I’m excited to be where I am in my career right now going into Year 5, Year 3 at right tackle. I’m just ready to go out there and show what kind of player I am this year and what kind of unit we are as a group.”
Collins has started 46 of the 47 games he has played for the Cowboys, including the last 32 at right tackle. He started only three games at guard in 2016 because of a toe injury and started 11 games as a rookie.
The Cowboys continue to hope to get deals done with Elliott and Prescott before Sunday’s season opener. Talks with Cooper have not progressed much but something could still get worked out during the season.
Of the three, Elliott’s deal could be the closest because the sides had been working toward an agreement over the holiday weekend. The Cowboys held their first practice in preparation for the Giants game on Monday and players are off on Tuesday.