Kirk Morrison is still out there and it's almost shocking that he hasn't been signed by a team yet. Surely there are teams out there that need a linebacker who is almost guaranteed to get over 100 tackles.
Morrison isn't completely past his prime, enough to not be considered as an addition to a team in need. He's only 29 years old and could still be productive.
When he gets signed is still up in the air, but why he hasn't been signed is the real question.
For five straight years with the Oakland Raiders, Morrison recorded over 100 tackles. Then last year with the Jacksonville Jaguars, he recorded 89 tackles. That doesn't seem like a great drop off and there are plenty of guys who would love to have had 89 tackles last season, but for Morrison this draws a red flag to his falling off.
Morrison is a tackling machine, so seeing him with a season under 100 tackles could mean he's starting to slip and his production won't be as good anymore.
It's been well noted that Morrison isn't a great middle linebacker. In fact, it's pretty much out in the open that he should be playing outside linebacker, but all the same. Teams are shying away from him because they might not want to wait for his transition to the outside.
He's not a middle linebacker. Even though he racks up tackles, that doesn't mean he's suited to play in the middle.
Yes, Morrison racks up tackles, but does that mean he's a playmaker?
He can make plays in space, but besides that, he's usually getting his tackles five or ten yards down the field. That doesn't mean he can't tackle, it just means that his statistics are somewhat flawed in that all of those tackles don't make him a great player.
Morrison simply can't stop the run. He's not good in run support and that's a huge red flag for any team looking for a solid linebacker.
Morrison will get tackles, there's no doubt about that, but teams can't expect him to be a force against the run.
Any team looking for a middle linebacker will immediately shy away from Morrison for this reason alone.
Morrison has been rumored to be waiting on a call from the Philadelphia Eagles or his hometown Oakland Raiders, and if that's the case then why would any other team want to sign him?
Of course, as a free agent he has a choice as to where he wants to play, but if a team comes calling he should be answering.
The free agent market is slimming and with recently released linebacker Lofa Tatupu, the market is slimming even more for Morrison because he's not the best one out there anymore.
Isn't it ironic that Lofa Tatupu has had major knee surgeries and could be dubbed as injury prone, but the fact is that he is still more wanted than Morrison.
The reason is because Tatupu is a playmaker. He has been ever since his rookie season and wherever he may end up, he's still going to be a playmaker.
Tatupu being on the market hurts Morrison for the fact that if there is still one team out there that needs a linebacker, Tatupu will get signed first.
Stewart Bradley leaves through free agency, but still the Eagles are content with rookie Casey Matthews instead of signing someone like Morrison who is a seasoned veteran.
If the Eagles are sitting tight with a youngster that it's apparent that other teams are going to do the same thing.
Even in Oakland, Rolando McClain is the man in the middle and there isn't going to be a veteran replacement anytime soon.
Here's something to think about. The Jacksonville Jaguars don't want Morrison back. And if they did, they would have re-signed him by now.
That being said, it's the Jacksonville Jaguars. It's not like it's an elite team that's saying they have better options. It's the Jaguars that don't exactly have the middle linebacker position filled. If the Jaguars are shying away from Morrison, why wouldn't other teams do the same thing?
Stephen Tulloch, Barrett Ruud, Justin Durant, Paul Posluszny, Ernie Sims and Takeo Spikes. Those are just a handful of names that were part of a very deep free agent class of linebackers.
Kirk Morrison isn't even in the top 20 of these linebackers, which explains why he is still looking for work.
The talent in this free agent group is very impressive; and that's not to say that Morrison isn't talented, it's just saying that he's not as attractive as the other guys and that's visible now.
The Jaguars looked like they were going to hang on to Morrison, then they signed Paul Posluszny. Posluszny is a true middle backer who will give the Jaguars a huge boost in the defensive game.
For that reason alone, Morrison isn't re-signed. He could have served as a back-up to Posluszny, but even then the Jags didn't want to entertain that thought.
This is a bold thing to say, that's clear, but even then; Morrison might not be capable of starting anymore. His below-average season last year showed what type of value he really has.
There's no doubt that Morrison can be a solid back-up, but at this point in his career, that's probably all he is capable of being.
Morrison showed so much promise in Oakland, but he seemed to show his true colors last season in Jacksonville.
Morrison is 29 years old and he's past his prime, if he was ever in it.
Morrison can still be productive, but he may never again be a guy who gets 130 tackles a year.
Kirk Morrison isn't in the position to demand a hefty contract, but at the same time he's going to paid by somebody.
The money that is owed to him from being in the NFL for as long as he has been means that he's going to get paid what is owed to him, that alone may be keeping teams away.
Is Morrison the kind of player a team would want to give three or four million a year? Probably not.
Morrison is most likely looking to land with a contender, and the Eagles were probably at the top of his list. Is it out of the question that he could be signed in Week 6 or 7?
While any team is going to want him in camp right now and playing in the preseason, a contender could hold out and wait to snatch him up during mid-season.
Somehow, Kirk Morrison was forgotten by the NFL teams during the lockout. Instead all of the stars of the class were being closely examined and they were being courted by the big boys.
Morrison missed out on that because of the lockout. Instead of the teams being able to talk to him, they had only a couple weeks to talk to everyone and they preferred to talk to the players that are better than him. It's probably because of this that he hasn't been signed.
The preseason has started, which means that teams have their rosters in place at the moment. They are weeding out who is going to be making the final cuts and they are seeing what they might possibly need or want.
Since the preseason has started, this does a couple things for Morrison. It will give teams a chance to realize a need at linebacker, but it can also give teams a glimpse of their talented future, that doesn't help Morrison.
If the teams that are even considering Morrison—Oakland, Philadelphia and Jacksonville—are remotely interested in him, watching the guys that are already in place might hurt his chances because they get to see them play right now and they won't have to second guess themselves.
Morrison not being in camp and not playing hurts more than anything.
Today's middle linebacker in the NFL is asked to do more than just tackle. They're asked to cover and to give the defense a presence. Morrison just doesn't do that. He's not capable of taking on more than one responsibility anymore.
His first couple of years in Oakland, he wasn't terrible in coverage and he even started one year out with three interceptions in three straight games, but that has since left his game.
Morrison just isn't like today's middle linebacker.
When I think of a middle linebacker, I think of Ray Lewis. The leader of a defense. Everything goes through him and him only. When I think of Kirk Morrison, leader isn't even in the discussion.
A middle linebacker is the leader of the defense. They call the shots and they are responsible in large part for the success of the unit. Morrison just isn't that type of player and that is why teams aren't interested.
All of the free agents have been snatched up for the most part and the ones that are left are more of a key position than a middle linebacker. Almost every free agent linebacker has been signed except for Lofa Tatupu and Kirk Morrison.
The position just isn't in high demand at this point. Teams are now looking to bolster their lines or get better and deeper in their secondary.
Morrison might be waiting for a long time before a team calls asking for his services.
In the end, Morrison just isn't reliable anymore. Once a tackling machine and a bright young face in the game, he's now considered to have lost it, and that's after an 89 tackle season in Jacksonville.
The hometown boy out of Oakland will most likely get signed and it might even happen shortly after this article is published, but until then, teams are shying away from him because he doesn't fit their needs.
Teams want a prolific middle linebacker that can still produce. Morrison isn't that type of player anymore. Maybe his career would be different if he played on the outside, maybe not, but the fact remains that teams aren't lining up to sign him, and there are plenty of reasons why.