South Notes: Bortles, Morgan, Bucs

Now that Andrew Luck‘s record-setting contract has been wrapped up, beat writers and national reporters alike are already speculating as to when the next big-money quarterback deal will be consummated. Members of the 2014 draft class are eligible to sign extensions after the 2016 season is over, and Hays Carlyon of The Florida Times-Union writes that the Jaguars will extend quarterback Blake Bortles, the third overall selection of the 2014 draft, as soon as the collective bargaining agreement allows them to do so.

Of course, as a first-round selection, Jacksonville could keep Bortles under club control through 2018 by exercising his fifth-year option, but Carlyon believes the Jags will move to sign Bortles to a long-term deal early so that they can front-load his contract and take advantage of the considerable salary cap space they currently have, thereby giving them more flexibility down the road.

Now for more notes from the league’s south divisions:

  • Jarrod Wilson, an undrafted free agent safety from Michigan, made a couple of splash plays towards the end of the Jaguars‘ offseason program, and those flashes have put him on defensive coordinator Todd Wash‘s radar. He still has a long way to go to crack the team’s 53-man roster, but Ryan O’Halloran of The Florida Times-Union can envision at least one scenario in which Wilson would make the club.
  • Titans OLB Derrick Morgan has joined free agent offensive tackle Eugene Monroe as a vocal supporter of increased cannabis research, as Ben Volin of The Boston Globe (citing USA Today) writes. Morgan did multiple interviews last week calling for the NFL to support cannabis research to determine if cannabidiol or any other compounds can help treat or prevent chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Morgan is entering the second year of a four-year, $27MM he inked with Tennessee last March.
  • Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter recently indicated that his club may target a few veteran free agents to round out the roster when cuts start being made this summer, and Greg Auman of The Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter) indicated that obvious positions in need of an upgrade are fourth defensive tackle, third running back, and fifth linebacker.
  • Rookie quarterback Josh Woodrum, who was signed by the Giants as a UDFA before being released just three days later, was ultimately claimed off waivers by the Colts, and he believes he has made great strides during Indianapolis’ offseason program, as Andrew Walker of writes. Currently the fourth QB on the Colts roster behind Andrew Luck, Scott Tolzien, and Stephen Morris, Woodrum is encouraged by his progress in adapting to the traditional pro-style offense that the Colts run, which is a stark contrast from what he became accustomed to while setting records at FCS program Liberty University. Needless to say, Woodrum is unlikely to make the team in 2016, but he is hoping to develop his game enough to make a good impression on all of the league’s 32 clubs if and when he gets a chance in the preseason.
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