According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Denver Broncos have agreed to terms with Kareem Jackson to ensure his return.
Source: The #Broncos have a deal to bring back Kareem Jackson.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 23, 2021
9News’ Mike Klis has reported it is a 1-year contract worth $5 million.
After the Broncos and Jackson’s camp were unable to come to terms on a contract “restructure” last week that was likely a pay cut, the veteran’s team option was declined and he became a free agent. The transaction cost the Broncos $2,882,353, in a dead cap hit but freed up $10 million in space. Jackson’s departure also raised pressing questions about the safety room in 2021.
With Jackson’s return the Broncos look set to start the veteran next to Justin Simmons for the third consecutive year. With the way Vic Fangio’s defense utilizes a two high structure and routinely spins safety’s post snap, this is welcome news. While Jackson has never made a Pro Bowl, he and Simmons have been consistent stalwarts on the third level.
Bringing back the veteran safety should not prevent George Paton from considering safeties in the upcoming NFL Draft. Jackson will turn 33-years old on April 10th, an age where most defensive backs have already begun to decline. Bringing Jackson back does help to alleviate the immediate need and should provide the coaching staff time to groom an heir.
To date Jackson has played in 26 of a possible 32 games since he signed a deal to join the Broncos in 2019. His only missed time over that span came when he served a DUI suspension at the end of the 2019 season. Trey Marshall became the starter in his place and finished out the season.
Bringing back Jackson puts the Broncos roster in a spot where there is only one pressing need if you’re dubious on Drew Lock. It creates a situation where George Paton can aggressively trade up for a rookie passer if he deems it necessary. If Paton believes in Lock, the Broncos are now in a position where they can chase the best available talent at nine or trade down to accumulate extra draft ammo.
Bryce Callahan, Kyle Fuller, Bradley Chubb, Malik Reed, Alexander Johnson, Josey Jewell, and Kareem Jackson playing on contracts that expire after the 2021 season. The roster is currently in a place where it could make sense to chase Deshaun Watson if the allegations against him do not prove true. The short term deals would also allow Paton to move on from any and all if necessary to create additional cap space in 2022 or “reset” the roster for a new coach.
We’ll have more on this story as we learn it.