What Next for Landon Collins and the Giants?

Landon Collins might have cleaned out his locker from the New York Giants facility. Then again, he might not have.

Or maybe it really doesn’t matter all that much.

Reports surfaced on Wednesday afternoon that Collins had cleared out his locker in anticipation of hitting free agency. The Pro Bowl safety was apparently thinking that the Giants were going to let him walk without a new contract.

Later reports from reporters on the Giants beat said that Collins did not vacate his locker space.

Speculation ensued from Collins himself that he might have played his last down with Big Blue.

In the final year of his contract, does it really matter?

The Giants should want to keep Collins, given his three Pro Bowl appearances in his four years in the NFL. He’s a dominant safety and a great teammate. He’s played hurt and at a high level. He is everything a team would want from the position. Collins is a potential building block for a team in the midst of a rebuild after consecutive losing seasons.

Despite being a star in their defensive backfield, the Giants might not be able to retain the 25-year-old. They currently sit on $27 million in salary cap space and Collins would possibly take up one-third of that space with a new contract. Given the holes on the team, along the offensive line and the need for a difference maker in the pass rush, Collins might be hit by the salary-cap crunch.

Giants GM Dave Gettleman says in his end of the year press conference that he's happy with the foundation they laid this year but they still have some work to do.

But with several transactions that could clear more cap space, the Giants should be able to re-sign Collins. They’ll have space if veterans such Olivier Vernon are cut, giving them the flexibility to either give Collins a new contract or utilize the franchise tag on him. There is plenty of reason to believe that Collins can and will be back.

Let’s say though that Collins did clear out his locker. It really isn’t a big deal.

The Giants may not be able to sign Collins or may choose that tying up substantial cap space on safety isn’t in the best interest of their rebuild. The Giants could have given Collins a larger contract last year, but they decided to give a long-term deal to Odell Beckham Jr. In this case, it might not be Collins lashing out or making a statement.

Simply, he might be reading the tea leaves.

Perhaps Collins is merely doing the math and thinks he might not be back next year. Or maybe it is part of a negotiation ploy on the part of his representation to grab some attention and get some public sympathy ahead of negotiations.

Then again maybe it was just a standard cleaning of his locker room. Or it could be true that he didn’t even clear out his locker today and all of this is null and void.

At the end of the day, it probably doesn’t matter all that much. The Giants are going to go a certain direction on Collins, regardless of what happened today.

A trash bag full of sneakers and clothes won’t make a difference either way.

[Read More From Kristian Dyer]