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Dallas Cowboys sign La'el Collins to their practice squad

The Cowboys add roster depth with a familiar face.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys have turned back the hands of time as they prepare for another playoff run. With starting left guard Tyler Smith dealing with a plantar fascia tear, the Cowboys have signed offensive lineman La'el Collins to their practice squad after he came in for a workout on Tuesday.

Besides the Tyler Smith injury, the Cowboys recently saw Tyron Smith miss a game with a back injury. It looks like the Cowboys are trying to protect themselves for the playoff run by adding some depth with experience.

Collins would've been a first-round pick, but some off-the-field issues forced him to go undrafted. He started as a reserve left guard in 2015 behind Ronald Leary, but he soon passed him on the depth chart and was promoted to a starting role. In 2016, Collins started the season as the starting left guard, but a torn ligament in his toe limited him to just three games. A year later, Collins found his home at right tackle, signing a two-year extension for $15.4 million.

During the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Collins would start all 32 games for the Cowboys, establishing himself as one of the better right tackles in the NFL. In 2019, Collins signed a five-year extension for $50 million and started 15 of 16 games, but it was a rocky road for him in Dallas after that. Collins would miss the entire 2020 campaign after suffering a neck stinger due to a car accident, and he also had hip and groin issues as well. In 2021, Collins was suspended for five games for violating the league's substance abuse policy. He started 10 of the 12 games he played in but requested a trade in March of 2022. Later that month, Collins was released and picked up by the Cincinnati Bengals, where he's been ever since.

After starting 15 games for the Bengals last season, Collins was placed on the reserve/PUP list to start the 2023 season due to tearing his ACL and MCL last December and was released in September. Collins has started 86 of the 89 games he's played in, and he has lined up at guard and tackle. That's the kind of depth and experience the Cowboys could use with Smith's current situation, and he makes a good insurance plan in case things get a little shaky.

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