Landon Collins will require season-ending surgery to repair a partially torn labrum in his shoulder sustained in Sunday’s win over the Bears, sources said, costing him the final four games of what might be his final season with the Giants. He’s expected to be placed on injured reserve on Thursday.
The veteran safety and defensive captain is due to become a free agent this offseason, and whether or not he returns to the Giants for 2019 or beyond remains unclear.
Such speculation would have seemed silly a year ago, when Collins was very clearly one of the young building blocks upon whom the Giants’ new regime hoped to reconstruct the team. But the fourth-year veteran was clearly shaken when his name was floated in trade talks earlier this season, seemingly awakening him for the first time to the possibility that he might not finish his career with the franchise. Collins leads the Giants with 96 tackles this season, but has no sacks or interceptions and has struggled at times in coverage.
If the Giants want the Pro Bowl safety back, they’ll have to either sign him to a long-term contract or use the franchise tag on him for 2019.
Collins’ teammates certainly want him back.
“Who wouldn’t?” cornerback Janoris Jenkins said when asked about that scenario.
Fellow Giants safety Michael Thomas said: “You don’t just replace a guy like L.C., a two-time Pro Bowl player. You don’t just replace him.”
Of course, the Giants have to on Sunday against Washington. For that they’ll rely on Thomas, Curtis Riley, and rookie Sean Chandler.
Collins had played just about every defensive snap this season, missing just two prior to Sunday when he had to undergo a concussion check (which he passed). He hurt his shoulder in Sunday’s game and had to leave the field twice. Each time he returned, and he was on the field for the team’s final defensive plays in overtime of their win against Chicago.
“I think Landon is a very tough guy, a very good tackler,” Pat Shurmur said. “He’s made a lot of plays for us, especially close to the line of scrimmage. In a sport where toughness is required, he’s got a lot of it and that’s what I appreciate about him.”
How much Collins’ contract status has impacted the decision to have the season-ending surgery may never be known. Although Collins has played through multiple injuries in his career, he likely is not keen on heading into free agency with a damaged body or risking further injury by playing with the partially torn labrum.
“I’ve been through it, other guys have been through it,” Thomas said. “You have decisions to make about, do I want to keep going out there and putting it on the line for my teammates? But also I have to think about my long-term career as well. I’m praying it’s not too serious, but it’s tough.”
Collins’ 2017 season ended with surgery as well, that one on a fractured forearm.
This year’s late-season trip to the operating room, however, has the possibility of being a lot more final in terms of Collins’ time with the Giants.
The surgery has a recovery time of four to six months, which should allow him to be back in time for OTAs in the spring. With which team? That prognosis is less defined.