Landon Collins discovered he was the subject of trade speculation in the days leading to the league's deadline after receiving a text from his trainer, former NFL safety Ryan Clark, and Collins' agent confirmed the rumors.
For Collins, one of the few bright spots on a New York Giants team currently sitting on a 1-7 record, the situation provided a dose of reality on the business side of football.
"It surprised the hell out of me," Collins said, via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. "It was a big eye-opener. If they're rebuilding, they can rebuild without me. And I'm so young still, but they could still try to find younger and put the money elsewhere, into whatever they need to put it into to rebuild their team."
Collins, who turns 25 on Jan. 10, enters the final year of his contract, which pays a base salary of $1.2 million. And he has proven his worth since joining the Giants as a second-round pick in 2015.
The strong safety currently leads the Giants' defense with 62 total tackles, and he led the charge in the category the past three seasons en route to a first-team All-Pro selection in 2016 and two straight Pro Bowls (2016-17).
Collins told SNY that he would like to remain with the Giants, but pointed out there have been no discussions on a contract extension.
And outside of a new deal, that leaves the possibility of a franchise tag, which Collins prefers to steer clear of.
"Honestly, I don't want it," Collins said. "I know what type of player I am. I'm going to bring forth hard work, talent, play-making abilities to the game each and every week. Why would I want to play under a one-year deal? If something happens I'm not guaranteed. And even though I'm guaranteed that for a year, I'm still not guaranteed."
There is time between now and the start of the league's new calendar year, which kicks off free agency, for the Giants and Collins to potentially hammer out a new deal.
But if the Giants elect to designate Collins as a franchise player, the fourth-year pro understands he really won't have much of a choice in the matter.
"It is what it is," Collins said. "If they franchise tag me, I have to go from there. I can't go nowhere. There's not much I can do."