If the Cleveland Browns are unable to lock D'Qwell Jackson up with a long-term contract this offseason, the team will place the franchise tag on the linebacker, a league source told the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Friday.
"We're looking for a long-term deal and that's what both parties would like to accomplish before free agency starts on March 13," Brian Mackler, Jackson's agent, told the newspaper, adding that the negotiations are going "OK."
Jackson had 158 tackles, most on the team, and 3.5 sacks in 2011 after his two previous seasons were interrupted by torn pectoral muscles, and was nearly named the league's comeback player of the year.
The 28-year-old has been in the league since he was selected by the Browns with their second pick in the 2006 NFL Draft.
The newspaper reported that Jackson, who signed a one-year deal before last season, is thought to want a five-year contract.