What once appeared to be a foregone conclusion has turned into a strange and unexpected goodbye of sorts.

A week removed from LockerGate, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports the New York Giants are unlikely to place the franchise tag on safety Landon Collins, lending credence to earlier speculation that he has knowingly said goodbye to his teammates.

Earlier this season, Collins said he would not hold out if the Giants designated him their franchise player, implying it was something outside of his control.

“Would I play on it? I mean, I got no choice to play on it. It’s not a big concern of mine,” Collins told reporters in late December. “I know what I’m capable of. I think we’ll work something out before that. If not, franchise it is. Just got to continue proving myself as my worth.

“My hopes are to be here, honestly. That’s my hopes. Like I said from the beginning, I’ve been drafted here, I want to finish my career here. It’s a hope and it’s a dream of mine, and hopefully make it a reality.”

As the 2019 NFL Combine arrived however, the belief was that Collins would not only hold out, but could remain out all summer.

Sensing the potential headache, and taking the salary cap hit of $11.15 million into consideration, Gettleman seemed to indicate Collins would be a free man come the new league year.

“We’re still evaluating,” Gettleman told reporters at the combine. “Here’s what everybody has to understand – you’ve got 53 players on your club and you’ve got a salary cap. You don’t have 53 silos. Decisions like this can’t be made in a vacuum. You can’t do it. So, it’s a process.”

As the deadline for the franchise tag arrives, reports across the league suggest a “significant market” is developing for Collins among a strong safety group. The Giants may attempt to re-sign him at a smaller number, but it’s like he’ll call a new town home in 2019.

Despite the free agent situation, the Landon Collins Celebrity Softball Game is scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 8.