South Notes: Joeckel, Hasselbeck, Saints

The Jaguars have not decided on whether or not to pick up Luke Joeckel‘s fifth-year option, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports.

It’s something we’re working through,” GM Dave Caldwell told media, including O’Halloran. “I know [the coaches] are going through all the film from last year and that will take the off-season and until the players come back. No decision has been made on that.”

Joeckel has not been what the Jaguars envisioned when they selected him No. 2 overall in 2013, and he turned in another underwhelming season in 2015, ranking at No. 50 on Pro Football Focus’ grades for tackles.

The Chiefs are facing a similar decision with 2013 No. 1 pick Eric Fisher in the tackle-rich draft, while the Eagles already extended their No. 4 pick, right tackle Lane Johnson, earlier this offseason. Last year, the cost for exercising fifth-year options on offensive linemen picked at Nos. 1-10 was $11.096MM.

O’Halloran theorizes the Jags are potentially waiting to see if Laremy Tunsil slips to them at No. 5. If not, he writes, the team will pick up Joeckel’s option. But if the Ole Miss prospect does somehow escape the top four picks, Jacksonville would be inclined to take him and pass on Joeckel’s 2017 season.

Here’s the latest from some of the league’s southernmost squads.

  • Caldwell told media the Jags aren’t far under the league’s salary floor, according to O’Halloran. With the CBA mandating teams spend 89% of their cash over a four-year period, the Jaguars and Raiders reside under that threshold for 2013-16. An Associated Press report on Feb. 4 placed the Jags at $28MM under this mark. Although the Jaguars have the most cap room in the league at $80.07MM, they have until the 2016 league year ends next March to reach the salary floor. “We haven’t [reached it], but we’re close,” Caldwell told media. “We don’t have to spend to the cap to get there. Trust me, we’ll have no issue getting to where we need to be.” 
  • We heard earlier today the Colts will move away from Matt Hasselbeck as their backup quarterback. Financial discipline is at the root of this, according to Stephen Holder of the Indanapolis Star (Twitter links). Hasselbeck signed a one-year, $3MM deal to stay in Indianapolis last year and occupied $3.5MM and $3.75MM cap holds for the Colts in 2013 and ’14, respectively. Despite formerly signing a lucrative extension with the Bucs a few years ago before a career-altering swoon, Josh Freeman‘s only set to take up $760K of the Colts’ cap in 2016. The Colts will likely add additional inexpensive depth behind Andrew Luck, considering Freeman was playing in the Fall Experimental Football League last year.
  • The Saints met with Paxton Lynch at the Combine, Christopher Dabe of reports. Although the ex-Memphis quarterback seems to have fallen behind Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, he’s still considered a first-round prospect. Drew Brees has just one year remaining on his current contract and turned 37 in January, but as Dabe points out, the Saints used one of their 60 permitted prospect summits on Jameis Winston last year. The Saints remain committed to extending Brees’ contract.
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