According to 9News’ Mike Klis the Broncos will not pick up the team option for safety Kareem Jackson. He will become a free agent.
The Broncos will not exercise the option on safety Kareem Jackson, per source. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) March 16, 2021
The move creates $10 million in cap space while the Broncos will incur a $2,882,353 dead cap hit. George Paton elected to cut the 32-year old after the first dominoes of free agency began to fall, which suggests the safety market may have influenced this decision.
Broncos did try to restructure Jackson's contract before tomorrow's deadline for $1.5M guarantee option and $10 million salary. When it couldn't be worked out, Broncos decided to let Kareem Jackson head for free agency.— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) March 16, 2021
A terrific leader who can still play. And hit. #9sports https://t.co/Yqrbr0KiDH
Cutting Jackson means it will fall upon Justin Simmons to serve to hold down the fort on the backend. The only other safety on the current roster with significant playing time is Trey Marshall, who played the last two games of 2019 after Jackson was suspended for a DUI.
It remains to be seen if the Broncos new general manager will pursue a veteran replacement for Jackson. The best players like John Johnson, Marcus Williams, and Marcus Maye are all locked up. Because they signed for less than expected there’s reason to believe the Broncos could find a value deal once the market starts to cool.
Whatever you think about the Broncos' decision regarding Kareem Jackson, I'll say this:— Bob Morris (@BobMorrisSports) March 16, 2021
I'm not sure he's going to get $10M per year ($10M was to be his 2021 base salary with the Broncos) from another team.
Personally I do not expect the Broncos to go out and sign another top tier veteran safety. Cutting Jackson carried with it a significant dead cap hit Paton’s pinching pennies over guys like Phillip Lindsay. Guys that could make sense look more like Tre Boston or Duron Harmon than former Viking Anthony Harris.
Hard to imagine the Broncos go after an expensive veteran safety when cutting Kareem Jackson carries a $2,882,353 dead cap hit.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) March 16, 2021
It is also considered a strong NFL draft for safety prospects. Two of the top prospects play in a defensive system that carries with it some overlap to the Fangio scheme. TCU’s Trevon Moehrig is considered the top safety in the class while the diminutive Ar’Darius Washington pops off the tape. If George Paton decides to chase a rookie later down the board guys like Paris Ford or Richard LeCounte could make a ton of sense.
We’ll have more on this story as we learn it.