The Jacksonville Jaguars made upgrades to most position groups this offseason but they barely made any changes to their safety room. Should they then consider pursuing free agent Landon Collins?
Matt Bowen of ESPN recently discussed the best landing spots for the top remaining free agents and sees Jacksonville as a possible destination for Collins. He believes the veteran safety might be scheme-dependant but could thrive in Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell’s system. Bowen also thinks Collins would add “much-needed competition” for a team trying to establish a new identity on defense.
"I view Collins as a scheme-specific safety at this stage of his career. He can run the alley in Quarters or spin down as a sub-package hybrid defender to generate disruption near the line of scrimmage. That’s why I’m looking at Jacksonville under new defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell, who joins the Jags after working with Todd Bowles and the Bucs in 2021. Look at how safety Jordan Whitehead was deployed in Tampa Bay last season. Collins has the top-down juice and the physical traits to play underneath in a similar role."
A second-round selection by the New York Giants in the 2015 NFL Draft, Collins was a First-Team All-Pro selection in 2016 and has earned three Pro Bowl designations throughout his seven-year NFL career (but none of them in the last three). He signed a six-year deal worth $84 million with the Washington Commanders but was released early this year. Last season, he made 13 starts and logged 81 total tackles, seven tackles for a loss, two interceptions, one forced fumble, and two passes defensed. He sat out the last three games of the year with a foot injury but is currently healthy.
Safety isn’t currently at the top of the Jaguars priority list
Collins could certainly help the Jaguars. While he isn’t a ballhawk, he’s a good downhill tackler that excels in run defense. Rayshawn Jenkins and Andre Cisco will tentatively be the starters at safety, so one of them would have to hit the bench to pave the wave for the former Commander.
Also, it’s fair to wonder why Collins doesn’t have a new team yet. He isn’t reportedly opposed to returning to Washington but there doesn’t seem to be a market for his services. The first and second waves of free agency came and went and he remains unsigned. Health doesn’t seem to be an issue, so it’s possible that he might not be seen as a fit, or maybe his salary demands are deemed too high.
Good NFL teams are always looking for ways to improve, and although safety isn’t a pressing need, the Jaguars could end up kicking the tires on Collins in training camp, especially if they have an injury at the position. But for the time being, there doesn’t seem to be room for the veteran on Jacksonville’s roster.