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Horse Tracks: Malik Jackson deserves extension

A handful of Broncos defenders have improved in 2015, but defensive lineman Malik Jackson has shined the entire season.

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Happy Wednesday, Broncos Country.

In this installment of Horse Tracks, I would like to give some praise to defensive lineman Malik Jackson, who had an amazing game against the San Diego Chargers this weekend.

According to ProFootballFocus, Jackson was one of the two highest graded defensive lineman all of last week, earning a +8.4 overall grade, with most of his positive marks received with his pass rushing prowess, scoring a +7.6 in that regard.  He accumulated two hits and seven hurries in 33 pass rush attempts.  Even though he didn't register a sack, there is no doubt that his play made Philip Rivers uncomfortable all game long and was one of the key reasons the Broncos defense was so successful against the Chargers.

After a quiet rookie season in 2012, Jackson blossomed as a third-down specialist and reserve player the past two seasons, but has taken his game to another level in his contract year.  He is on pace to shatter his previous bests in sacks and tackles and have a career year worthy of Pro-Bowl recognition. If Jackson keeps his consistent terror of quarterbacks and opposing offensive lineman going the rest of the season, he will be one of the best available free agents on the defensive market.

Outside of Von Miller, who will likely be given the franchise tag if a long-term agreement cannot be met before free agency begins, Jackson is the next player in line who deserves an extension from the Denver Broncos organization.

With the cap projected to go up between seven and ten million dollars, coupled with the Broncos' ability to gain cap space via potential roster cuts (play out your own scenarios here), the team should have ample space to reward Jackson for his play in Denver. Broncos faithful have waited years to have a formidable defensive front and it is imperative that the Broncos do their best to keep their defensive front seven in tact as they transition into a new era in 2016.

Jackson deserves to be a part of Denver's long-term plans and it is my sincere hope that the Broncos can give him an extension before the advent of the free agency frenzy this spring.

As always, thanks for reading and have a wonderful Wednesday.

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