Ezekiel Elliott was brought in to help strengthen the New England Patriots’ backfield depth, but it turns out that the veteran running back is also moonlighting as a recruiter.
Following Wednesday’s news that the entire Patriots offensive line is banged up to some degree, NESN beat writer Zac Cox reports that Elliott has been trying to recruit his “best friend” and offensive tackle La’el Collins.
The veteran OT — who is rehabbing from ACL/MCL tears suffered last year — was released by the Cincinnati Bengals to save money.
Patriots Roster Rumors: La’el Collins
Although Elliott didn’t outright say he was trying to get Collins to join, he did add that it “would be great” to have his best friend join New England.
Elliott and Collins aren’t strangers to one another, having spent 2016 to 2021 as Dallas Cowboys teammates. That six-year span was incredibly productive for Elliott as he rushed for more than 7,300 yards and 56 TDs on 1,650 carries, so it’s no surprise that he’d love a reunion.
Sometimes players recruiting their friends doesn’t lead doesn’t go much further than that, but Collins joining the team is a real possibility.
According to MassLive‘s Mark Daniels’ sources, the Patriots have “shown interest” in the veteran OT, however, it’s mostly due diligence at the moment.
Still, with the O-line dealing with a plethora of injuries, it makes sense that the Patriots would take a swing at Collins. He’s finished with a Pro Football Focus grade of 72.5 or better in three of the last four seasons and his presence would go a long way in protecting Mac Jones while helping the run game.
Don’t expect any signing before our Week 2 matchup with the Miami Dolphins, though. Collins is still recovering from his 2022 season-ending injuries and while it’s been over nine months since tearing his ACL and MCL.
Nevertheless, his initial recovery time was believed to be around seven months, so he shouldn’t be sidelined too much longer barring any setbacks.
If the Patriots are confident that he’s healthy enough to return to form, signing Collins is a no-brainer — especially if they want to improve their odds to win the Super Bowl, which don’t even rank top-20.
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