Malik Jackson is one of the most coveted upcoming free agents in the NFL, but the Denver Broncos are working hard to keep him from hitting the open market.
Based on comments the defensive lineman made on Monday, it sure sounds like he’s willing to give the franchise a slight hometown discount to stay in Denver and continue helping the organization build a powerhouse defense.
Speaking with NFL Network on Monday, he conveyed his desire to remain with the Broncos:
“In talking to my agent, I got a pretty good idea of what my worth is,” Jackson said (h/t Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post). “But I would like to see — because you never know — just to see the numbers. But if Denver came with quality numbers close to what we feel I deserve, then I would stay.”
That’s a strong vote of confidence by Jackson to John Elway and the Broncos.
It speaks to the culture they’ve built in Denver, which has everything to do with Elway’s influence. Also, it’s worth noting a Super Bowl ring bolstered these feelings of confidence in the organization.
When confronted with the prospect of taking less money to stay in Denver or hitting paydirt in free agency, Jackson admitted it’s not an easy decision to make:
“I think it’s 50-50,” Jackson said. “That’s what makes it so hard, because you want to get paid. That’s your dream, to get paid and take care of your family. But you still want to win, too.”
If Jackson does indeed sign with the Broncos at a slightly discounted rate, and assuming Von Miller isn’t going anywhere (he isn’t), then the Broncos are going to be in fantastic shape on the defensive side of the ball for years to come.
Elway already wrapped up contract negotiations with defensive end Derrick Wolfe before the season ended, meaning the only other loose end to tie up is linebacker Danny Trevathan, who Elway recently called a top priority to re-sign, along with Jackson.
Denver’s defense was undoubtedly the key reason the Broncos won Super Bowl 50. Jackson played a huge role within that remarkable unit. It sure seems like both he and the team want to make this work for the long term. With that in mind, nobody should be surprised if he does end up taking a hometown discount, rather than making more money on a losing team.