Landon Collins could sit out spring if Giants tag him

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Landon Collins and the New York Giants are approaching a standoff, and the safety's coming contract dispute took center stage on Wednesday.

Collins, an impending free agent and likely franchise-tag candidate, reportedly "cleaned out his locker" at the Giants' facility on Wednesday, per ESPN. Multiple beat reporters refuted that Collins had cleaned out his locker or said goodbye to teammates in a way that would signal his imminent departure from the team.

In response to these conflicting reports, Collins tweeted, "The stuff in that locker that I have left I do not need."

The vagueness of Collins' reported actions and statements do not clarify what his future might be in New York or elsewhere.

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported that the Giants are likely to place the franchise tag on Collins before the March 5 deadline. The safety however is unlikely to sign the tag right away and could sit out through the spring and summer as negotiations commence on a long-term deal, Garafolo reported.

On the tag, Collins would likely make more than $12 million, far more than the $1.27 million base salary he earned in 2018. Dolphins safety Reshad Jones is currently slated to be the highest-paid safety in 2019 with a $13 million base salary.

The 25-year-old could be seeking more than that in a long-term deal but we have not reached that point of the standoff yet.

A three-time Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro in 2016, Collins is the only player in the NFL with at least 400 tackles and 30 passes defensed since 2015. He is the only safety in the league to record at least 95 tackles in each of the last four seasons. But a statistically poor 2018 might have hurt his value heading into free agency in 2019, where the safety pool is deep; Earl Thomas, Tyrann Mathieu and Lamarcus Joyner are all slated to hit the open market.

Wednesday's panic that the Giants were going to let Collins walk into free agency without even applying the franchise tag was premature. An impasse over his compensation or future with the Giants is surely to come in the following months, but the resolution might not be as tidy as Collins' locker was on Wednesday afternoon.

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