ASHBURN, Va. — Landon Collins’ phone buzzed, alerting him to a couple of direct messages he had just received via Instagram.

One note was from Washington linebacker Ryan Anderson. The other was from defensive end Jonathan Allen.

Word had gotten got out that Collins’ time with the Giants was up. New York did not plan to use the franchise tag to retain the star safety, and so the 25-year-old was set to become a free agent after four seasons, a distinguished stint that included three trips to the Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors in recognition of a monster 2016 season.

It’s rare for a player with Collins’ combination of youth and talent to hit the open market. But he did. And his former Alabama teammates seized on the opportunity.

“I said, ‘I would love to play with you here, man,’” Allen said of the message he sent to Collins. “‘We like what you do. We want you here. You’d be a great…



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