Our No. 1 free agent on the market won't be available for long when free agency officially opens on Wednesday.
Defensive end Malik Jackson, fresh off a Super Bowl title with Denver, has agreed to terms on a six-year, $90 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, a source informed of the negotiations told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. The deal includes a whopping $42 million in guarantees. Jackson will be the centerpiece of what should be an aggressive offseason for the Jaguars, who are desperate to improve their defensive talent.
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General manager David Caldwell certainly has the money to spend. The Jaguars are entering free agency with the most cap space in league history -- more than $80 million. Jackson is the type of versatile defensive lineman who can play inside and out. Jackson had an outrageous 45 quarterback hurries in addition to five sacks in 2015. In comparison: Von Miller had 50 quarterback hurries last season and is one of the best pass rushers in the league.
Jackson will be transitioning from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 attack, but he's shown in his career that he can play in virtually any system. He certainly timed the best stretch of his career well. He was perhaps the best player on the Broncos from Week 17 on, racking up four sacks alone in the AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl.
The Jaguars will be adding some prime talent to one of the worst defenses in football. Last year's No. 3 overall pick, Dante Fowler, will be back from a torn ACL, and Jackson will be added to a defensive line that includes oft-injured defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks. Jackson will wind up being paid like a quarterback, and will have to handle the pressure of being a top-shelf player after mostly playing in the shadows of Miller and Ware over the last two years.
Still, this is a talent and a team that fit well together. Jackson is a terrific player and the Jaguars have more cap room than they know what to do with. It's a win-now year for the Jaguars, and the addition of Jackson gives them a better chance to make their push in the soft AFC South. They aren't done spending yet.