James Morgan

Wednesday NFL Transactions: NFC South

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These moves for the BuccaneersFalconsPanthers and Saints are noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s NFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Atlanta Falcons

Claimed:

Signed to practice squad:

Carolina Panthers

Release from IR:

Signed to practice squad:

New Orleans Saints

Released: 

  • K Aldrick Rosas; Rosas is expected to re-sign later this week, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets

Claimed:

Signed to practice squad:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Signed to practice squad:

Jets Cut 26 Players, Get To Roster Limit

The Jets let go of 27 players today, reducing their roster to the 53-man limit. The team made the following moves:

Released

Waived

Placed on Reserve/PUP list

The Jets added Johnson earlier this month. While the 35-year-old hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since 2018, there was some optimism that he could compete for a spot as Zach Wilson‘s backup. That ultimately wasn’t the case, and with James Morgan also getting waived, the team will roll with Mike White as the second QB.

AFC Notes: Waddle, Howard, Jets, QBs, Mims

The Dolphins just made a massive investment in Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle by taking him with the sixth overall pick. While it’s too early to worry too much, it does sound like Waddle’s ankle may cause some anxiety for Miami fans. Waddle is “still not entirely back” from the broken ankle he suffered during his last season in college, Adam Beasley of Pro Football Network hears. He writes that it’s “still somewhat of an issue” nine months after the injury occurred.

Even though he’s participating in training camp practices, Beasley says he “still at times walks with a limp” and that “there are some within the organization who believe he doesn’t yet have the full explosiveness” he had with the Crimson Tide. Waddle said after a recent Dolphins practice that he was feeling good, but it sounds like this will be a situation to monitor. The injury was a devastating one, so it’s not all that shocking that it’s lingering.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Speaking of potential Dolphins drama, star cornerback Xavien Howard just gave his first press conference since formally requesting a trade. Howard was pretty terse in his media availability and didn’t reveal too much, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. When asked if he was optimistic that an agreement with Miami would be reached, Howard said “That’s up to the Dolphins,” he said. “I’m just here with my teammates.” Howard either wants more guaranteed money from the team, or a trade. He was also asked whether he hoped things would get worked out for him to stay, and he replied “yeah, I hope it gets better. It’s a process. I’m hearing this and that, but nothing is getting done right now.” When asked whether he had spoken to head coach Brian Flores, Howard said “we talked but didn’t go nowhere.” It sounds like things are at an impasse, with no end in sight. Buckle up.
  • One of the big questions surrounding the Jets this offseason has been whether they’ll add a veteran backup quarterback. Rookie second overall pick Zach Wilson will be the starter, but New York has very little experience behind him. 2018 fifth-round pick Mike White and 2020 fourth-round pick James Morgan are the only two other options on the roster. First-time head coach Robert Saleh “seems oppposed” to the idea of adding a veteran signal-caller, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. If they don’t, “White is the favorite to be the regular season QB2,” Cimini says. White was originally drafted by the Cowboys, but came to New York in 2019. Cimini thinks the team may cut Morgan and try to add him to the practice squad.
  • This one will be a disappointment to Jets fans. 2020 second-round pick Denzel Mims is “no better than fifth in the pecking order at wide receiver,” Cimini writes. The team obviously had much higher hopes for him when they drafted him 59th overall just last year. He’s understandably behind veterans Corey Davis and Jamison Crowder, but it sounds like Mims has also already fallen behind free agent signee Keelan Cole and 2021 second-round pick Elijah Moore. Injuries limited the Baylor product to only nine games as a rookie, in which he put up 23 catches for 357 yards.

NFL Draft Signings: 7/20/20

With training camps looming, teams are rushing to get picks signed. Here are the latest draft deals:

  • The Falcons signed third-round center Matt Hennessy. The No. 78 overall pick is set to develop behind Pro Bowler Alex Mack, whose contract expires after the 2020 season. Atlanta’s Hennessy pick caused Denver to change course, with the Broncos having a deal in place with the Jets to move up to No. 79 to draft the Temple blocker. But the Falcons struck one pick earlier, allocating another early-round resource to their offensive line after using two first-round picks on the group last year.
  • The Jets were busy Monday, signing three of their 2020 draftees. Third-round pass rusher Jabari Zuniga (Florida), fourth-round quarterback James Morgan (Florida International) and sixth-round punter Braden Mann (Texas A&M) are now under contract. Mann is on track to be Gang Green’s punter, while Zuniga may a rotational role from the outset. Despite an apparent need, the Jets were not especially aggressive in addressing their years-long edge-rushing issue this offseason. Morgan will be on track for the developmental route, with the Jets having signed Joe Flacco after the draft.
  • Two Cowboys picks agreed to terms as well. Fifth-round defensive end Bradlee Anae (Utah) and seventh-round quarterback Ben DiNucci are under contract. Both project as backups, with the latter — a former Pitt recruit who transferred to James Madison — joining Clayton Thorson as UDFA QBs behind Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton.

Jets Select FIU QB James Morgan

The Jets have themselves a new quarterback. With the No. 125 overall pick, Gang Green selected FIU’s James Morgan to serve as Sam Darnold‘s backup.

Morgan has been something of a draft darling over the last few months. The Bucs, Titans, Colts, Patriots, Packers, Bears, Raiders, Giants, Bills, and Dolphins all checked in with the young signal caller. Morgan’s stock skyrocketed thanks to an impressive performance at the combine and a big showing at the East-West Shrine Game, putting him in the next tier of QBs behind the likes of Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, and Jake Fromm. Washington’s Jacob Eason enjoyed a similar rise – he went three spots earlier to the Colts at No. 122 overall.

Morgan was said to have one of the three strongest arms in the draft, along with leadership ability and football IQ. After a rocky stretch at Bowling Green, he transferred to FIU in 2018 and completed more than 65% of his passes for 26 touchdowns against seven picks. His performance dipped a bit in 2019, but his tape kept him afloat during draft season.

The Jets aren’t looking to slide Darnold out of the QB1 spot, but Morgan is a developmental arm who can hold down the fort if Sam Darnold misses time. Hopefully, the Jets’ offensive line will be in better position to protect Darnold in 2020 with Louisville standout Mekhi Becton at tackle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucs, Titans Talk With QB James Morgan

Add the Buccaneers and Titans to the list of teams with Florida International quarterback James Morgan on the radar (Twitter link via Mike Wells of ESPN.com). His market could be heating up as a whole host of teams have chatted with him in recent days.

As previously reported, the Jets, Patriots, Packers, Bears, Raiders, Giants, Bills, and Dolphins have also checked in with the young passer. The Colts, per Wells, have had multiple video meetings with him.

Morgan hasn’t gotten the same kind of hype as other QBs in this class. In all likelihood, he’ll be available well after Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jake Fromm, and other big names have been spoken for. Still, Morgan’s stock has been steadily rising, thanks in part to strong showings at the combine and the East-West Shrine Game. He might not be the complete package, but he offers one of the strongest arms in the draft, plus football IQ and leadership qualities.

After an up and down run at Bowling Green, Morgan transferred to FIU in 2018. In his first season in the state of Florida, he earned Conference USA Newcomer of the Year honors by completing over 65% of his passes for 26 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Last year wasn’t quite as strong, but he’s still well liked by evaluators.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Notes: Giants, Wirfs, Morgan, Jets, Bailey, Edwards

There’s been a ton of discussion about the top three picks in the upcoming draft, but the Giants have been flying slightly more under the radar at number four. While we’ve heard that New York loves versatile Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons, the “consensus of sources” that Ralph Vacchiano of SNY spoke to was that the Giants will take an offensive tackle with the fourth pick. Vacchiano adds that they will “quite possibly” take another offensive lineman in the second round. If they did that, it would “likely be a center,” he adds. As for which tackle the Giants will take in what is widely regarded as a strong tackle draft, sources told Vacchiano that Giants GM Dave Gettleman “loves” Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs.

Here’s more from around the league as the draft rapidly approaches:

  • We know all about the top quarterbacks available, but James Morgan is an unheralded name who has been picking up steam lately. We heard last week that the Patriots were sniffing around and that a handful of other teams were interested in the FIU passer as well. Morgan is “pushing to be a mid-rounder” and has been interviewing well, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. Rapoport also notes that Morgan was interviewing with the Jets on Wednesday. Morgan completed only 58 percent of his passes last year with 14 touchdowns and five interceptions, but his numbers were much better the season before. He appears to be one of this draft’s late risers.
  • Former Purdue linebacker Markus Bailey got some good medical news, as Rapoport tweets that he recently had his combine re-check and was cleared by the Cardinals’ team doctor. Bailey tore his ACL for the second time back in September. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report had him as a fifth-rounder in his most recent mock draft, but maybe this news will boost his stock a little bit.
  • Speaking of good medical news, Rapoport tweets that former South Carolina receiver Bryan Edwards also got some. Edwards fractured the fifth metatarsal in his foot just before the combine, but is now out of his boot and “moving around well,” according to Rapsheet. Rapoport adds that teams have been sent updated scans of his foot, and all appears to be well. Miller had Edwards going early in the fourth-round to the Jets in that same mock draft.

FIU QB James Morgan Drawing Interest

FIU quarterback James Morgan is starting to generate some buzz as we get closer to draft day, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes. Morgan made his way onto our site for the first time today, when we wrote that the Patriots have shown some interest, and New England is not the only team sniffing around.

Per Wilson, a number of clubs are closely vetting Morgan, though COVID-19 restrictions obviously mean that he can’t visit teams or work out privately for them. Wilson’s sources say that in addition to the Patriots, the Packers, Bears, Colts, Raiders, Giants, Bills, Jets, and Dolphins are among the teams intrigued by Morgan.

It is not surprising to see most of the teams on that list. New England, of course, is in the market for a collegiate passer after watching Tom Brady sign with the Buccaneers, and the Dolphins have long been connected to this year’s top rookie QBs. The Raiders, Bears, and Colts have varying degrees of long-term uncertainty at the quarterback position, and the Packers had planned to host the best QB prospects before pre-draft visits were cancelled (Morgan is actually a Green Bay native, and the Packers may be starting to prepare for life without Aaron Rodgers).

Meanwhile, all three New York outfits seem to have a long-term solution under center already, although none of their incumbents are sure things at the moment. And given that Morgan is a mid- to late-round prospect, it couldn’t hurt for those teams to at least have a look.

Morgan performed well at this year’s scouting combine and at the East-West Shrine Game, and a Southeast Area NFL scout said Morgan has one of the three strongest arms in the draft, along with the intelligence and leadership qualities that teams covet. After an uneven tenure at Bowling Green, Morgan transferred to FIU in 2018 and earned Conference USA Newcomer of the Year honors by completing over 65% of his passes for 26 TDs and seven interceptions.

His 2019 effort was not quite as strong, but he has put together enough quality tape to start rising up draft boards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Tua, Pats, Diggs

Though Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa has most commonly been connected to the division-rival Dolphins, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe believes the stars are aligning for the Patriots to make a play for the southpaw passer. The Lions — and all of their New England connections — hold the No. 3 overall pick and will have a major impact on how the quarterback dominoes fall in this year’s draft. If Detroit trades down, as many expect, Volin suggests that New England’s No. 23 overall pick along with a mid-rounder and a veteran player like Julian Edelman could be enough to get a deal done. The Patriots’ ties with Alabama head coach Nick Saban would also help give the team a little more insight into Tagovailoa as a player and as a person.

Let’s round up a few more AFC East rumors on another stay-at-home Sunday:

  • Volin’s proposal may be a little far-fetched, but if Tagovailoa starts to slide on draft day — after all, the Dolphins may not be entirely sold on him, and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report says the 2018 Heisman runner-up is the No. 3 or 4 QB on some teams’ boards even if he is completely healthy — then the Patriots could be in play, per Doug Kyed of NESN.com.
  • One way or another, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says the Patriots will draft a rookie signal-caller. While he does not rule out a dramatic move for a player like Tagovailoa, he also says the team could once again target a mid-round prospect and is eyeing FIU passer James Morgan.
  • WR Stefon Diggs sounded like a man who wanted out of Minnesota for awhile, and he finally got his wish when he got traded to the Bills in March. However, his displeasure with the Vikings had more to do with his role in the offense than his contract; he signed a five-year, $72MM extension last summer, and he still has another four years to go on that pact. Still, the contract looks fairly team-friendly in the current market, so Buffalo GM Brandon Beane was recently asked if Diggs is content with his deal. Beane side-stepped the issue, saying simply that Diggs is “happy to be in Buffalo” (Twitter link via Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News). It would indeed be rather surprising to see the Bills rework a contract that has four years remaining.
  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com confirms that Jets guard Brian Winters, who was presumed to be a cap casualty not that long ago, will remain with the Jets and will compete for a job in training camp. Cimini says that if Winters does not win a starting role, he will likely be asked to take a pay cut.