The Denver Broncos desperately wanted to retain defensive end Malik Jackson, but in the end it appears he’s well out of the team’s price range. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver is reporting the talented defensive star is finalizing a deal that would send him to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Klis reports this deal would make Jackson the fourth-highest paid defensive lineman in the NFL, “based on annual average over the first three, four and five years of a long-term deal.” Ian Rapoport added it’s a six-year deal for Jackson, and Adam Schefter is reporting the average salary comes out to around $15 million per year.
ESPN’s Josina Anderson spoke with the defensive end shortly after Klis’ report, and he confirmed he’s leaving Denver for Jacksonville.
Just got off the phone with #Broncos DE Malik Jackson. I asked if definitively intends to leave Denver for Jacksonville. He said, “yes."
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 8, 2016
Jacksonville had more cap space entering free agency than any other team in the NFL. Meanwhile Denver had very little to work with, thanks to all the high-profile signings and savvy draft picks John Elway has engineered the past few years to win a Super Bowl.
Jackson joins an increasingly talented group of players down south and should make a huge immediate impact on Jacksonville’s defense. If the Jaguars can add a couple of talented secondary players and a pass rusher or two, then they will become quite a force to be reckoned with defensively.
Combined with the team’s burgeoning offense, led by quarterback Blake Bortles, this is a team that is swiftly rising and could potentially challenge the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans this year for the AFC South crown.