It was just a year ago that the Baltimore Ravens seemed to think that Alex Collins was going to be their future at the running back position, their first real candidate since the Ray Rice fiasco blew up in their faces, both on and off the field.
A former undrafted free agent of the Seattle Seahawks in 2016, he found his way to Baltimore in 2017, where he played in 15 games, ending up starting 12 of them. He rushed for 973 yards on 212 attempts, averaging 4.6 yards per attempt with six rushing touchdowns.
Even though he scored eight total touchdowns in 2018, however, he gained only 411 yards on the ground on 114 attempts, averaging 3.6 yards per rush, as he fell behind rookie undrafted free agent Gus Edwards and veteran Kenneth Dixon.
Collins was involved in a car accident yesterday morning that resulted in his being arrested. A short time after that, the Ravens announced that they had released him. Collins was already scheduled to be a restricted free agent and Baltimore was probably not going to tender him, which would have cost them over $2 million.
The Ravens still have Edwards and Dixon in addition to Buck Allen, who has never averaged at least four yards per carry in a season. Last season, he rushed for just 110 yards on 41 attempts, averaging a career-low 2.7 yards per attempt.
But the team of Edwards and Dixon will be the focus of their efforts going forward. Edwards rushed for 718 yards on 137 attempts with two touchdowns, averaging 5.2 yards per attempt. He started the season on the practice squad before being elevated with 11 games to play, making six starts.
Dixon, who missed the 2017 season with an injury, also missed most of 2018, but returned for the final six games and rushed for 333 yards on just 60 attempts with two touchdowns, averaging 5.6 yards per attempt.
It was those two who showed they were best able to complement Lamar Jackson at quarterback in the ground game. Collins had more difficulty doing that, but he also didn’t really have the opportunity, as he suffered a foot injury that landed him on injured reserve at the start of December.
Collins is now subject to waivers as he is not a vested veteran. Provided that he clears waivers, he will be a street free agent and would be able to immediately sign with any team that wishes to sign him. It’s likely that teams will wait for the dust to settle on his legal situation first, however.