A former Green Bay Packers quarterback will be getting a fresh start in Indianapolis for his second year in the NFL.
The Colts announced Tuesday the signing of 23-year-old Jalen Morton to a reserve/future contract for the 2021 offseason, adding an intriguing option to their quarterback room at a time when the future of the position largely uncertain.
Morton went undrafted in 2020 coming out of small-school Prairie View A&M but earned a shot with the Packers as a part of their UDFA class, spending the majority of his first offseason as the team’s No. 4 quarterback. He was unable to climb the ranks, however, behind Aaron Rodgers, Tim Boyle and first-rounder Jordan Love and was released on Aug. 3 before training camp without getting an opportunity on the practice field.
The circumstances are more favorable for Morton in Indianapolis. There is no clear-cut starter in 2021 for the Colts with veteran Philip Rivers now retired and Jacoby Brissett heading into free agency. The only other quarterback under contract is 2020 fourth-round pick Jacob Eason.
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Morton Touts Impressive Arm Strength
Morton might not have caught draft attention, but the 6-foot-3, 237-pound quarterback still entered the league with a few impressive dimensions to his game, namely the intelligence and arm strength he had established over four seasons as Prairie View A&M.
Morton threw for 4,203 yards, 33 touchdowns and 22 interceptions during his two seasons as the Panthers’ starting quarterback, rushing for another 1,334 yards and 16 touchdowns as a legitimate dual threat. The real head-turner when evaluating Morton, though, is his claim that he can throw the ball 100 yards — which he confirmed when talking to Bill Huber of Sports Illustrated last summer after signing with the Packers.
“The last time I did that was late July (2019) before camp. I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m feeling good about the season,'” Morton told Huber. “I feel good about it. I feel good about it because I know my arm strength. I used to play baseball. I know the type of conditioning to keep in shape and keep doing that. I’ve seen Aaron Rodgers flick the ball and it goes 75. I can only imagine what he would do if he takes a couple of hitches and lets it go.”
How Will Packers Handle QB Situation in 2021?
The Packers have made it unequivocally clear that Rodgers will be their quarterback for the 2021 season, but there are still some things to consider when looking at the rest of the room.
Boyle, who has spent the past two seasons as Rodgers’ backup, will become a restricted free agent when the new league year begins in March, meaning the Packers will have to decide whether he is valuable enough to bring back for another year. The trouble is the presence of Love, who may not have played a single snap during his rookie season but represents a key first-round investment. Can the Packers really afford to keep Love at No. 3 for a second year in a row?
If the Packers do decide to move forward without Boyle, expect them to also add at least one more quarterback to their 90-man offseason roster whether it be another undrafted rookie like Morton or a journeyman veteran that can supply some competitive heat to training camp. The Packers had a unique reason (Love’s delayed development during a virtual offseason) for carrying a third quarterback through 2020 on their active roster, but it isn’t a stretch to think they would be interested in stashing at least one on their 2021 practice squad.