Though they defeated the Dallas Cowboys by 22 points on Sunday, the Washington Football Team did suffer a critical loss. Star defensive back Landon Collins had to get helped off the field after going down with what appeared to be a serious lower-body injury.
On Tuesday, fans of the Washington NFL franchise received terrible news about the team’s $84 million star. With Collins in need of surgery, Ron Rivera must find a new starting strong safety. Luckily for the former Carolina Panthers coach, an ex-Pro Bowler still needs a new NFL home.
Landon Collins joined Washington after a stellar career with the Giants
Following a standout career at the University of Alabama, Landon Collins became the 33rd overall pick of the 2015 NFL draft. In four years with the New York Giants, he racked up monster numbers and became one of the team’s biggest stars.
After totaling 112 tackles and just one interception as a rookie, the 6-foot, 218-pound safety earned Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors in his second season after racking up 125 tackles, five interceptions, 13 passes defended, and four sacks. The playmaking machine followed up with two more Pro Bowl selections.
However, the Giants did not sign Collins to a contract extension. That gave him a chance to cash in elsewhere.
Washington inked the three-time Pro Bowler to a record-setting six-year, $84 million contract on March 13, 2019. Although Collins racked up 117 tackles in his first year with the team, he failed to record a single interception. Quarterbacks had a 114.5 rating when targeting Collins in coverage.
The Washington Football Team just lost their $84 million star
Coming off a down year by his standards, Landon Collins entered the 2020 season with an opportunity to prove he deserved his lucrative deal. The 26-year-old showed better ball skills this season and has been much more effective in coverage.
Before getting injured on Sunday, Collins had racked up 41 tackles, an interception, two sacks, a forced fumble, and one pass defended. He also held quarterbacks to a rating of just 87.9—a massive improvement over last year’s mark.
Unfortunately for the Washington Football Team, they will have to play the rest of the season without their $84 million star. On Tuesday, Josina Anderson reported that Collins told her that he will have surgery to repair his Achilles on Monday, Nov. 2. That ends his promising campaign after just seven games.
With a need for a starting strong safety, Washington could elect to promote from within. However, if Ron Rivera wants to keep his team in the hunt for the NFC East crown, a better option exists on the free-agent market.
Eric Reid would be an ideal replacement for Collins
After Landon Collins got hurt on Sunday, the Washington Football Team inserted Kamren Curl into the lineup. However, the seventh-round rookie represents a substantial downgrade in terms of experience.
If Washington wants to find a more readymade replacement for Collins, Ron Rivera needs to give Eric Reid a call. The 28-year-old played for Rivera in Carolina and put up huge numbers in 2019 with 130 tackles, four sacks, six passes defended, two fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble.
After getting cut by the Panthers in March, Reid has yet to sign with another NFL team.
But with Washington in need of a new starting safety, Reid would provide Rivera with a battle-tested veteran who can step in seamlessly for Collins. Signing the former San Francisco 49ers star would certainly give the team a chance to maintain its strong level of play on defense.
Washington currently ranks 11th in points allowed and has completely dominated their NFC East counterparts so far. Rivera’s squad held the Philadelphia Eagles to just 265 total yards and 17 points in Week 1. The Giants mustered only 240 total yards and 20 points in Week 6. On Sunday, Washington held the Cowboys to an absurd 142 total yards. Dallas never scored again after Greg Zuerlein hit a 45-yard field goal in the first quarter.
Considering how bad the NFC East is, Ron Rivera should make every effort to sign Eric Reid. At this point, the reward outweighs the risk.
After all, they don’t call him Riverboat Ron for nothing.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.