The 2015 NFL Draft wrapped up around 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, and that meant the start of undrafted free agency. The UDFA period is a frenzy of teams racing to sign so-called "priority" free agents, in hopes of filling out their roster with some upside. Teams are in contact during the final couple rounds of the draft, and agreements leak out almost as soon as the draft ends.
The most interesting undrafted free agent has to be LSU offensive lineman La'el Collins. He was projected as a potential first round draft pick, but an unbelievable scenario unfolded in the days leading up to the draft. His ex-girlfriend was killed, and while he was declared to not be a suspect, police wanted to speak with him to get a better handle of the situation. The police had no suspects, so nobody was able to say, well, he was not involved.
Collins set up an interview with police that apparently is set for Monday. Since it was after the draft, it resulted in teams removing him entirely from their draft boards. His lawyer has said he will provide the necessary information to get himself cleared, but because it has not happened yet, nobody wanted to take a chance that he would end up being implicated in the now double murder (unfortunately, the tragic situation took an even more tragic turn when the baby passed away over the weekend).
Collins's camp had tried to get him removed the draft and entered into the supplemental draft. That was denied. There was then word that he did not want to be drafted if he did not go on day two, and that he would re-enter the draft in 2016. However, draft rules do not allow that. A player can only re-enter the next year's draft if he is drafted this year and refuses to sign. By going undrafted, Collins was a UDFA and could not enter the draft again.
Fans of several teams have suggested they sign Collins and offer him a sizable bonus or something else to influence his signing. However, that is not allowed. Teams are allowed to use approximately $86,000 in total signing bonus money for their UDFAs. That is total, not per UDFA. Collins can sign a three year deal for at or near the league minimum. He could get the deal fully guaranteed, I believe, but he could not get more money. At the end of three years, he would be a restricted free agent, as opposed to unrestricted.
The 49ers invested a pair of draft picks in offensive linemen. That does not preclude signing Collins if he is cleared this week, but I do not necessarily see it happening. Collins would enter a situation where he likely would not be able to start until 2016 at the earliest. Brandon Thomas is the favorite to take over Mike Iupati's role, while the next starting option would be with the eventual departure of Alex Boone.