Cowboys, La'el Collins agree to five-year extension

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The Dallas Cowboys got another contract done for a player not named Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott or Amari Cooper.

The team agreed to terms on a five-year extension with offensive tackle La'el Collins, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported, per sources informed of the pact. Garafolo adds that the pact includes $50 million in "new money." The first two years are fully guaranteed, and Collins receives $35 million in total guarantees.

Similar to the Jaylon Smith deal, the Cowboys had a talented player land in their laps for non-playing reasons, and the team locked them down with a pay raise sooner than required.

Collins, who was projected to be a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, fell completely out of the draft after he was wanted for questioning in the murder of a former girlfriend in the days leading up to the selection process. Collins was ultimately ruled out as a suspect, but the situation cost him potentially millions of dollars by falling all the way out of the draft.

The Cowboys scooped up the LSU product on a three-year $1.5 million deal as an undrafted free agent. After two years and 14 starts, Dallas redid that deal, giving Collins a bump in pay, signing him to a new two-year, $15.4 million extension in 2017. The deal was set to expire after the 2019 season.

Dallas made sure their right tackle wouldn't be going anywhere for a while. The extension keeps Collins under contract in Dallas through the 2024 season.

Still just 26 years old, Collins continues to improve from early-career struggles, and is one of the rising young tackles in the NFL. The Cowboys will now pay him in line with his worth.

The deal keeps in place the core of the Cowboys talented, highly paid offensive line with left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and right guard Zack Martin are already among the top paid at their positions. Four of five players on one of the best offensive lines in the NFL -- and the best if all are healthy and playing at their peak -- is now locked down through at least the 2023 season.

Doing a deal now indicates it's a team-friendly pact given what Collins could have made if he hit the free-agent market after the season. Trent Brown, after all, got a massive deal in free agency from the Oakland Raiders this offseason and didn't have nearly the experience and game-film Collins owns.

The Collins and Smith deals underscore the belief in Dallas that they are looking to lock down players without paying prices at the very top of the markets. With deals for Zeke, Dak, and Cooper still yet to be done, we'll see if the Joneses can continue getting their players to take deals that are slightly less than the max.

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