Landon Collins on whether he cleaned out his Giants locker: Anything left 'I do not need'

In less than a month, Landon Collins is scheduled to hit free agency, where he would garner considerable interest from a number of safety-needy teams -- unless the Giants decide to utilize the franchise tag to prevent him from becoming a free agent. By the sound of it, Collins is hoping to hit free agency.

On Wednesday, ESPN's Josina Anderson reported that Collins cleared out his locker and said his goodbyes to teammates, coaches, and trainers because he does not expect to return to the team in 2019. However, conflicting reports quickly emerged with NorthJersey.com's Art Stapleton and the New York Post's Paul Schwartz both reporting that Collins' locker has not been cleared out. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo chimed in, reporting that Collins removed his "personal items" from his locker and that he doesn't expect to return to the team facility "for a while," which could mean he's planning on remaining away from the team if he's tagged.

Thankfully, Collins weighed on Twitter to clarify some of the confusion. According to Collins, "The stuff in that locker that I have left I do not need."

Collins, a second-round pick of the Giants back in 2015, has been one of their most dependable players for the majority of his four-year career. After a 100-tackle, five-interception, 13-passes-defended, and four-sack season in 2016, he earned First Team All-Pro honors. He might not have performed up to the standard he set in 2016, but according to Pro Football Focus, he still finished this past season with the second-most run stops among all safeties when he was lined up within eight yards of the line of scrimmage. In his career, during which he has played in 59 of 64 possible games, Collins has averaged roughly 80 tackles, two interceptions, and eight passes defended per season. 

All of which is to say, he'll be highly sought after if he does hit free agency. Our Pete Prisco ranked him eighth on his list of the best 30 free agents:

He looked like a future Hall of Fame player in 2016, but his play has tailed off some and he ended last season on injured reserve with a partially torn labrum. Even so, he's 25 and he's a quality starter in a league where good safety play is imperative.

Just because Collins thinks he'll be allowed to leave New York for free doesn't mean the Giants will let him do so. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora recently wrote that there's a good chance the Giants will exercise the franchise tag, noting that despite general manager Dave Gettleman's history of the franchise tag (remember the Josh Norman situation?), it's "a necessary evil" for a team with so few playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. 

The team has until March 5 to issue the tag.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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