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Process Doesn't Change For Zaven Collins After Contract Option Decision

Linebacker wanted 'straight up' conversation and got it

When the Cardinals decided to decline the fifth-year option for linebacker Zaven Collins -- meaning his contract will run out after this season and not 2025 -- he acknowledged it wasn't the outcome he sought, because it would mean they wanted him another year.

"But," Collins said, "there was no ill intent on either side."

GM Monti Ossenfort had said when the news broke last month that, even without the option, the Cardinals still see a future with Collins in it beyond 2024. (Just not at the $13 million he would've been guaranteed for 2025.) For Collins, he has long accepted the decision.

"We were both straight up with each other," Collins said. "I told the staff I'm old school, straight up dude. That's how it is. I know it's a business. There is nothing big about it.

"We're just going to go in, show up to work every single day and I've shown up every single day, work every day. Still leading the room like I've always done, still coaching guys who are messing up, and take coaching from the guys when I mess up."

What does a successful season look like for Collins? Maybe not as a 10-sack guy. To begin with, the Cardinals rotate their outside linebackers quite a bit. And it's clear they like using Collins in a multitude of roles -- he said he has already worked in six different spots and has shown promise in coverage -- so his value likely isn't going to be tied directly to pass rush production.

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Zaven Collins (25) during 2024 OTA’s Wednesday, May 29, 2024 in Tempe, AZ.