South Notes: Coleman, Luck, Robinson, Lewan

In his sixth NFL season, safety Kurt Coleman enjoyed something of a career renaissance with the Panthers, starting 15 games while posting seven interceptions, good for second in the NFL. With Josh Norman and Roman Harper no longer around, Coleman will be counted on to act as a veteran leader in Carolina’s secondary, and though he’s entering the final year of his contract, he’s not worried about inking a new deal.

“I respect everyone that’s involved in the process and I’m trusting that both sides are going to do what’s right and what’s fair,” Coleman told Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “Honestly, it’s out of my hands. My job isn’t to negotiate. I probably wouldn’t be that good at it. My personal feelings might get (involved). I just control what I can control.”

As Roster Resource shows, the Panthers will be relying on players with little to no NFL experience in the defensive backfield. Bene Benwikere, Tre Boston, James Bradberry, and Daryl Worley are among the defenders who will need to contribute in 2016, and that lack of pedigree is one reason I pegged Carolina as a logical landing spot for free agent safety Donte Whitner.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • After driving into a retention pond and preceding to fall asleep Sunday morning, Jaguars running back Denard Robinson was — somewhat surprisingly — determined to not be impaired while at the wheel, as Joe Daraskevich of the Florida Times-Union reported. Robinson and a passenger were apparently both found asleep at around 4:20am on Sunday, and each reportedly dismissed an officer’s attempt to remove them from the car. “I should not have been driving that late or when I was that tired, but again, I’m just glad that everyone was safe,” Robinson said in part.
  • While Andrew Luck‘s new contract set a new NFL record in terms of average annual value, many observers were surprised that the Colts quarterback didn’t receive more (in either guarantees or yearly salary). Personally, I count myself among those that believe that Luck could have held out for a larger payday, but former agent Joel Corry (now a contributor) has a different take. “I’m surprised that so many people seem so underwhelmed by the deal, because it did establish new benchmarks and certain parameters,” Corry told Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, pointing to Luck’s cash flow and effective guarantees as positives in the contract.
  • Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan is exhibiting a new level of maturity, and head coach Mike Mularkey has noticed the change, as Terry McCormick of writes. Meanwhile, Mularkey said that eighth overall pick Jack Conklin‘s development on the right side has gone “smoothly,” according to John Glennon the Tennessean. PFR recently took its own look at Conklin and the other Titans first-year players in our Impact Rookies segment.
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