Trading for a healthy La'El Collins would give the Jaguars O-Line a huge boost

• La'El Collins lined up at RT last year but can also play OG

• Coincidentally, the Jaguars need depth at left guard

Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle La'el Collins (71) walks
Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle La'el Collins (71) walks / Sam Greene-The Enquirer

The Jacksonville Jaguars could use some help at left guard, with incumbent Ben Bartch having been placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list to start training camp. Although the Jags have a few solid in-house options to step in at left guard during Bartch's absence, they could also inquire about Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman La'El Collins, as Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report suggests.

Balentine compiled a list of trades each team should pull the trigger on and believes Jacksonville should kick the tires on Collins, noting that they could use help in the offensive trenches and Collins has the flexibility to line up in the edge or inside.

"Still, he's a veteran tackle with the ability to play guard as well. Although Collins is still recovering from the ACL tear, he would provide valuable experience to the Jaguars' offensive line. With Anton Harrison and Walker Little expected to play key roles, Collins' veteran presence would be especially beneficial.

Collins' experience and ability to play left guard would make him an asset for a Jaguars team that has to continue to protect Trevor Lawrence."

Collins had first-round potential coming out of LSU but after being asked questions in a murder investigation — he wasn't a person of interest — he went undrafted. He went on to start as a rookie and appeared in 74 games with 71 starts for the Dallas Cowboys before joining the Cincinnati Bengals last year.

In 2022, Collins made 15 starts but wasn't nearly as effective as he was in previous years, giving up 34 total pressures and five sacks on 618 pass-blocking snaps. To make matters worse, he suffered an ACL injury near the end of the year and there's no timeline for his eventual return.

The Jaguars have other options besides La'el Collins to potentially replace Ben Bartch

A healthy La'el Collins would certainly give the Jaguars' offensive line a boost. Moreover, they would have no trouble fitting his $4.5 million base salary for the 2023 season. Having said that, it wouldn't make much sense to trade for him — even if they only had to give up a fourth-round pick in 2024, as Ballentine suggests — because he may not be ready for the opener and the main reason they would consider acquiring him to begin with is that Ben Bartch is still recovering from the dislocated knee he suffered last year.

All things considered, the Jaguars are better off going with veteran Tyler Shatley or if they really want to add depth, they could then kick the tires on Dalton Risner, a four-year starter for the Denver Broncos who remains available. Another option would be a familiar face in Andrew Norwell, who was released after passing a physical for the Washington Commanders.

Norwell made 57 starts for Jacksonville from 2018-2021. He isn't the same player he was in his prime but he could certainly add depth on the interior offensive line.

It's also worth pointing out that bringing in Collins could potentially hinder the development of rookie Cooper Hodges and third-year offensive lineman Cole Van Lanen. While it's true that Collins would give the Jaguars a solid alternative at right tackle in case 2023 first-round pick Anton Harrison struggles, they already have Josh Wells in the mix, so trading for Collins seems unnecessary.

If Collins were healthy and ready to go right now, he would be a solid acquisition but he isn't, which is why rolling with Tyler Shatley until Ben Bartch returns is probably the best course of action for the actions in 2023.

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