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Report: Giants May Let Collins Walk In Free Agency

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- He's one of the best players on a team that hopes to be back among the NFL's elite sooner rather than later.

Yet the rebuilding Giants may very well choose not to franchise tag young star safety Landon Collins by Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline, thus allowing him to go to the highest bidder once free agency starts on March 13.

According to the Daily News, there will be a "significant market" for Collins if he hits the open market.

The problem from the Giants' perspective is they don't seem to be in love with the idea of doling out the $11.2 million 2019 salary that comes with the non-exclusive franchise tag, the newspaper reported.

Giants S Landon Collins
Giants strong safety Landon Collins (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Collins has been everything the Giants could have asked for and more since they selected him with the 33rd overall pick in the 2015 draft. The former standout at Alabama has made the Pro Bowl the last three seasons, amassing 325 combined tackles, 4.0 sacks and seven interceptions in 43 games. He missed four games this past season due a torn rotator cuff that required surgery.

For his part, Collins is not a fan of the franchise tag and could hold out if the Giants slap it on him, the Daily News reported, adding the 25-year-old safety wants a long-term extension.

Late last month, Collins reportedly cleaned out his locker at the team's practice facility and said his goodbyes to teammates and team personnel in an apparent attempt to display his displeasure over how his contract situation has been handled. Some reporters refuted the report, saying Collins' locker was not emptied. However, Collins, himself, later took to Twitter and said in a since-deleted tweet that things he left behind he did not need.

Either way, one thing all sides can agree on is Collins is not thrilled with his current situation.

MOREShurmur: Giants "Ready To Go" With Manning In 2019

Subtract Collins from the roster and the Giants defense would be devoid of top-end talent, which would likely force general manager Dave Gettleman to invest a good portion of the team's estimated $27 million in salary cap space on an impact defensive player or two.

New York also has the No. 6 pick in what is considered a defense-heavy draft, but some have speculated the Giants could try to trade up if they decide to find the heir apparent to 38-year-old starting quarterback Eli Manning.

The Giants reportedly like Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins and at least have mild interest in Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray of Oklahoma.

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