Cardinals' front office will be patient with Zaven Collins' fifth-year option

General manager Monti Ossenfort was asked about the fifth-year option regarding Zaven Collins.
San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

When the Arizona Cardinals drafted their 2021 class, it is safe to say that no one saw only three players from the class would remain on the roster heading into the 2024 season. One of those three players that general manager Monti Ossenfort will have to evaluate to see if there is a potential future with the Cardinals is linebacker Zaven Collins.

Drafted at No. 16 overall in 2021 out of Tulsa, Collins has been part of a defense that has ranked in the bottom half of the league in recent memory. With defensive minded head coach Jonathan Gannon getting a better understanding of what he has on his defense after last season, it will be up to him and Ossenfort to make the crucial decision on whether not Collins will have his fifth-year option picked up.

Should the Cardinals decide to pick up Collins' fifth-year option, it will be a $13.2 million commitment to Collins. In 3 seasons with the Cardinals, Collins has 103 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, a forced fumble and recovery, as well as 2 interceptions. Going into last season, Collins shifted from the middle to outside linebacker, in which Ossenfort had talked about in his press conference at the NFL Combine.

Ossenfort mentioned how the shift to outside linebacker with Collins was impressive, but that there is an expectation of a jump from last year into this season.

The new regime of Ossenfort and Gannon has an advantage because they did not have any involvement in the Cardinals' front office decisions up until last year. If the front feels that Collins can be a big part of the defense for the future, then the fifth-year option should be a no-brainer for them to pick up. However, if they feel that they have not seen enough, it would be smart for Collins to play on the last year of his rookie contract and prove what he can do with the pressure on him.