Once upon a time, safety Landon Collins said he would not hold out in the event the New York Giants placed the franchise tag on him.

“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.”

Since then, things have obviously changed.

In late February, Collins “cleaned out” his locker and reportedly said goodbye to several of his teammates, but head coach Pat Shurmur said that entire drama was overblown.

However, it’s clear that frustration is building for Collins, who had at least expected long-term contract negotiations by now. Instead, he was met with lukewarm feelings courtesy of general manager Dave Gettleman, who sounded like a man who was prepared to let his Pro Bowl safety walk free and clear earlier this week at the 2019 NFL Combine.

“I don’t understand when the tag became such a bad thing for players, but that’s me,” Gettleman said. “Let’s go to the conversation of eliminating distractions. You tag a guy, and he’s mad, and that’s all you guys are going to write about. For six months. That’s what’s going to be in , on NJ.com, that’s what it’s going to be. I have to say to myself, is it worth it?”

Should the Giants franchise Collins, he would be mad. In fact, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv reports Collins could hold out until the regular season if New York were to tag him without the hopes of a long-term extension.

There is a chance that if Collins is given the tag, he won’t sign it, possibly even until the start of the regular season. According to a source familiar with Collins’ situation, he has no interest in playing a season under the tag and definitely wouldn’t sign it until after the offseason workout program and spring mini-camps.

It’s even possible he could do what Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas did last year when he was trying to get a new contract. Thomas didn’t report to the ‘Hawks until Sept. 5 – four days before Opening Day.

While it seemed like a foregone conclusion the Giants would tag Collins entering the offseason, the possibility of a non-stop distraction leading up to the regular season is something Gettleman wants to avoid at all costs, even if it means losing a star defensive player.

Gettleman is no stranger to the game of chicken, having gone head-to-head with DeAngelo Williams and Josh Norman in the past. They both lost.

Is that what’s destined for Collins and the Giants? Neither side wants that, but if that’s how the cookie crumbles, both Collins and Gettleman appear prepared to deal with it in very different ways.