Update, 1 p.m. Thursday: Multiple reports say La'el Collins has signed with the Dallas Cowboys.
Former LSU offensive lineman La’el Collins is not the father of shooting victim Brittney Mills’ son, Baton Rouge police said Wednesday, as the undrafted free agent planned to meet with another NFL team.
Collins’ paternity test produced negative results, police confirmed — another twist in a weeklong saga regarding Collins and the death of Mills and her son, Brenton.
The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Collins, a former Redemptorist star, was a sure-fire first-round NFL draft pick before news broke last Tuesday that Baton Rouge police wished to speak with him about Mills, who was pregnant when she was fatally shot on April 24.
Collins, who police said had an association with Mills, met with Baton Rouge homicide detectives Monday morning, a meeting that produced no change in his status: He’s not a suspect, police have said from the start.
NFL teams, meanwhile, continue to recruit Collins, one of the most highly sought-after rookie free agents in NFL history.
The Dallas Cowboys and Collins have a meeting planned, a source said Wednesday. They are the latest team to come after the former All-Southeastern Conference tackle who some projected as high as a top-10 pick in last week’s draft before the Mills news spooked squads.
Things have changed. Almost every NFL team has contacted Collins, multiple sources said.
Collins met with Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan on Monday night and former LSU players Kelvin Sheppard, Jarvis Landry and Anthony Johnson, who now play for the Miami Dolphins, on Tuesday. The New England Patriots have contacted Collins, too.
The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday that Collins has begun to eliminate teams as possible landing spots. His agents, the Sun reported, have started informing teams if they’ve made the list.
The paternity test news likely clears the way for more teams to meet with Collins.
The Louisiana State Police Crime Lab conducted the DNA test for the Baton Rouge Police Department, said Maj. Doug Cain, a State Police spokesman. Cain said Baton Rouge Police provided the samples and the results came back Wednesday.
Collins going undrafted was an unprecedented turn of events — one the NFL has “never seen,” ESPN reporter Adam Shefter said. But free agents have advantages that draftees do not.
They get to choose their team, and undrafted players reach free agency after three years, instead of four for draftees. They can also have their contracts restructured after two years, instead of three.
Collins will suffer a financial setback immediately. Undrafted free agents often are offered a signing bonus of less than $10,000 — a steep drop, even, from the $50,000-plus bonuses for seventh-round players. Also, undrafted rookies are restricted to making a maximum of $1.575 million in their first three years.
As a top 20 pick, Collins would have likely received a four-year contract worth more than $10 million with a signing bonus of more than $4 million.
He’s now the hottest rookie free agent in years. A source said the Dolphins badly want Collins, and that the reigning Super Bowl champion Patriots are very interested in him.
It’s unclear when he plans on meeting with the Cowboys.
Advocate staff writer David Mitchell contributed to this report.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @DellengerAdv.