It was quite a bad day for the Dallas Cowboys on Day 2 of 2022 NFL free agency, even if not entirely. The good news for the club is they were able to re-sign former first-round pick Malik Hooker to their safety unit on a two-year deal worth $8 million, but the wheels came off of their morning immediately thereafter regarding defensive end Randy Gregory. As they pivot to an attempt to sign Von Miller as a replacement, there's another key order of business that remains unresolved and has for weeks now: the future of starting offensive lineman La'el Collins.

Collins is currently the topic of possible trade talk within the confines of Cowboys headquarters in Frisco, Texas, but there's also a possibility he gets outright released -- despite the team's need for depth on the offensive line. There are several teams interested in potentially trading for Collins, but nothing is imminent as of yet, although sources tell CBS Sports a frontrunner may have emerged in Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.

Having agreed to trade Shaq Mason (a guard) to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, reuniting him with a now-unretired Tom Brady, the Patriots gained a 2022 fifth-round pick along with several million in cap space, there's room to acquire Collins (a tackle) to help secure the edge in front of quarterback Mac Jones

It bears mentioning the Cowboys have also given Collins permission to seek out a suitor.

Internally, sources say, the Patriots have kicked around several ideas for compensation that include a possible swap of picks in the 2022 NFL Draft or a simply giving the Cowboys a pick on Day 2, but the discussions are preliminary and haven't yet been presented or formalized. Collins' flexibility is also intriguing to the Patriots, considering he was converted from guard to tackle by the Cowboys and, as such, has an ability to kick inside if/when needed -- as evidenced in 2021 following the emergence of Terence Steele at tackle. 

In the meantime, the front office in Dallas eagerly awaits an offer from either New England or one of the other possible suitors showing interest, still willing to consider designating Collins a post-June 1 release that would net them $10 million in cap savings but also deepen their need to address the O-line in free agency and/or the draft.

If a divorce does occur, it'll be the second offensive starter sent away this offseason by the Cowboys -- four-time Pro Bowl receiver Amari Cooper being the other -- as an unexpected shakeup continues on the offensive side of the ball.