Sunday afternoon, the NFL announced Atlanta Falcons defensive back Jalen Collins will be suspended 10 games due to a PED violation.
The third-year cornerback missed four games last year due to violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. This means Collins will miss a total of 14 of 48 regular season games in his first three seasons.
General Manager Thomas Dimitroff released a public statement regarding Collins’ suspension. “We are extremely disappointed that for the second straight season we are dealing with a suspension for Jalen,” Dimitroff said. “Such are the consequences when certain choices are made. Our decisions going forward will be based on what Dan and I feel is best for the team.”
What this means for the Falcons’ secondary
In most projected depth charts, Collins is slotted as a third cornerback behind Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant.
He excelled in his 12 games last season, and although he did not have a stellar playoff, his progress could have launched him ahead of an aging Trufant. When Trufant went down last season, he held his ground starting six games.
Collins, 24, recorded 28 total tackles last season, along with 10 pass deflections and two interceptions. As a team, the secondary ranked in the middle of the road compared to the rest of the NFL. They cannot afford a loss like this when their secondary is already in need of improvements.
What this could mean for the Falcons is dipping their toes into free agency. Free agents still available vary from seasoned veterans to younger corners. To name a few: Tramaine Brock, Darrelle Revis, Leon Hall, Tracy Porter, and Perrish Cox.
Another option is to explore trade possibilities. The least satisfying of all the options is to stay pat. The Falcons have yet to play a preseason game, so if they do not address the hole left by Collins’ selfishness, it will come off as laziness to the fans.
A note for all NFL players: the league does random drug tests. A second offense is embarrassing for Collins, but more embarrassing for the franchise.