Kareem Jackson

Broncos Rumors: Jackson, Harris, Leary

While the cornerstone Broncos secondary cog remains away from the team, the player that helped (indirectly) create the Chris Harris situation may be slated for a hybrid role. Kareem Jackson has continued to line up at safety during Broncos OTAs, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post notes. Given $11MM AAV in March, Jackson joins Justin Simmons as a first-string safety when the team has used its base formation thus far. However, the longtime Texans cornerback moves into his more familiar role when the Broncos shift to their sub-packages, O’Halloran adds. Jackson spent some of the 2018 offseason at safety and began the regular season there, but once Andre Hal returned after his cancer diagnosis, Jackson was shuttled back to corner.

The Broncos appear to be planning to use Harris and Bryce Callahan as base corners, with Jackson and Simmons on the back line. Denver released four-year safety starter Darian Stewart earlier this year and did not use a draft choice on a safety. Oft-used sub player Will Parks remains behind Jackson and Simmons, however, with Su’a Cravens and Jamal Carter still in the mix. But it is not known yet who Simmons’ sidekick in nickel and dime sets will be.

Shifting to the latest on Harris, here is more from Denver:

  • The ice between Harris and John Elway appears to be thawing. The sides have resumed negotiations, and the All-Pro corner’s $15MM asking price has come down a bit. It appears Harris will be receiving a raise, and Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets the Broncos and their ninth-year corner are discussing what would be a “big” 2019 salary spike. But interestingly, said big raise may just be for this season. Teams normally like to add control in exchange for salary hikes, but at this point, Harris may still be headed toward a contract year and 2020 free agency. The prospective one-year bump centers around the reality that the Broncos need Harris to contend this season, Renck adds.
  • Continuing with the Denver secondary, Simmons is entering his walk year. The 2016 third-round pick became a full-time player for the Broncos in 2017 and was their only defender to play every snap last season (1,078). Simmons is focused on a Broncos extension. “Obviously when it’s all said and done, if I had a choice I would stay here,”Simmons said (via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, subscription required), “not even a question of looking elsewhere or anything like that.” The Broncos have three starters from the 2016 draft, with Adam Gotsis and Connor McGovern 1.0 also in contract years, but it is not certain any will command lofty salaries. The Broncos’ highest-profile walk-year players are seasoned veterans (Harris, Emmanuel Sanders) rather than rookie-salary cogs on the verge of big money.
  • Ronald Leary has ended both of his Broncos campaigns on IR, last season’s Achilles injury occurring in October. But the veteran guard is set to be back as a starter, after seeing $5MM in 2019 injury guarantees kick in earlier this year. The 30-year-old blocker is on track to begin participating in OTAs next week, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio tweets. The Broncos have moved Leary back to right guard, where he played in 2017. Leary was not on board with being moved to left guard last year, Marvez adds. Second-round pick Dalton Risner is expected to be Denver’s starting left guard.

West Notes: Seahawks, Chiefs, Broncos

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Seahawks general manager John Schneider indicated Russell Wilson‘s four-year, $140MM extension won’t impact the status of franchise-tagged defensive end Frank Clark, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Seattle had already accounted for a new Wilson deal when it decided to tag Clark at a one-year rate of $17.128MM. Schneider also admitted the Seahawks haven’t made a decision on offensive tackle Germain Ifedi‘s fifth-year option for 2020, and singled out linebacker Bobby Wagner and defensive tackle Jarran Reed as extension candidates (Twitter links via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com and Condotta).

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • Wilson received an NFL-record $65MM signing bonus as part of his new Seahawks contract, but he won’t actually collect all that money immediately. He’ll earn $30MM of the bonus this year with the rest deferred until 2020, per Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (Twitter links), who notes this mechanism is common in most quarterback deals. The deferral won’t affect Wilson’s cap charges, as the $65MM will still be prorated over the next five seasons. Corry adds Wilson received better cash flows on his current extension than on his previous four-year, $87.6MM pact.
  • Authorities have recently removed Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill‘s three-year-old son from Hill and his fiancee’s custody, according to Laura Bauer, Brooke Pryor, and Steve Vockrodt of the Kansas City Star. Hill is under investigation for a pair of incidents involving child abuse, but still showed up for workouts earlier this week. The NFL is expected to allow the investigation to unfold before considering discipline for Hill.
  • Broncos free agent signee Kareem Jackson played safety at Denver’s minicamp this week, reports Mike Klis of 9News. Jackson, who can also play corner, spent time at both positions for the Texans in 2018 before inking a three-year, $33MM deal with the Broncos in March. “[T]here’s more to learn at safety than there is at corner,” said Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. “He’s played much more corner in his career, so I wanted him to get more work in this camp – all of his work – at the safety position, to feel comfortable there.”

Contract Details: Paradis, Saffold, Jackson, Packers

Following another busy day around the NFL, let’s check out some contract details:

Extra Points: Mathieu, Texans, Bucs, Bennett, Bears

It sounds like the Texans tried to keep Tyrann Mathieu before he ultimately signed with the Chiefs. Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo tweets that Houston offered the safety a long-term deal that would have paid him around $9.5MM per season.

The reporter notes that the Texans and Chiefs were bidding for Mathieu until the end, and Houston’s final offer was close to Kansas City’s. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle writes that the organization was (and, presumably, is) “willing to spend liberally” on a veteran safety, and both general manager Brian Gaine and coach Bill O’Brien wanted to keep Mathieu.

The safety ended up inking a three years worth $42MM with the Chiefs. The Texans have reportedly shifted their focus to other safeties, including Earl Thomas.

Let’s take a look at some additional notes from around the NFL…

  • Besides a safety, McClain notes that the Texans are also hunting for a pass-rushing “inside player.” The team could ultimately look towards the draft if nothing solidifies during free agency.
  • The Buccaneers reached out to linebacker Deone Bucannon, reports Greg Auman of The Athletic (via Twitter). The 26-year-old had spent his entire career with the Cardinals, and he started all of his 41 games between 2015 and 2017. He took a bit of a step back in 2018, compiling 38 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble in 13 games (six starts). The linebacker played with new Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians during their stints in Arizona.
  • Following the Patriots‘ acquisition of Michael Bennett, there were some rumblings that his brother, tight end Martellus Bennett, would come out of retirement and return to New England. However, the Patriots’ new acquisition poured some water on the rumors this evening, saying that the whispers of Martellus coming out of retirement were “fake news” (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). After winning a Super Bowl with the Patriots in 2016, the tight end split the 2017 season between New England and Green Bay.
  • The Bears are expecting a pair of defensive backs to go elsewhere this offseason. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes that safety Adrian Amos is “close to having a deal in place elsewhere,” and it sounds like the team is already eyeing potential replacements. Meanwhile, Biggs notes that cornerback Bryce Callahan won’t be back with the Bears after they signed veteran Buster Skrine.
  • Before agreeing to a deal with the Broncos, safety Kareem Jackson was hoping he’d be back in Houston. However, the veteran didn’t receive a whole lot of interest from the Texans, leading to the player feeling “a little disrespected.” “They didn’t even approach me with an offer or any type of deal,” Jackson told Mark Berman of KRIV (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “Obviously, they didn’t want me back or whatever the case may be. I’m not really sure. My agent was never approached by anybody from the Texans organization, so I wasn’t offered a deal of any sort. I kind of feel a little disrespected to be honest about it. At the end of the day, no hard feelings. I had a great nine years here. This will always be home for me. I definitely appreciate all the memories and all the opportunities. I appreciate the fans and everything I was able to build here. I’ll always have love for Houston.”

Broncos To Sign DB Kareem Jackson

The Broncos entered this free agency period with needs at multiple secondary spots. They are signing a player with experience at both of them.

Denver reached an agreement to sign Kareem Jackson, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. It’s a three-year deal for the longtime Texans cornerback/safety. Jackson will join the Broncos for $33MM, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who adds the veteran defender will receive $23MM fully guaranteed (Twitter link).

This marks the second key defensive back the Texans have lost in the past two hours, with Tyrann Mathieu reaching a record-tying agreement to join the Chiefs. For the Broncos, Jackson adds some interesting flexibility and is coming off a Pro Bowl-caliber season. A nine-season Texans starter, Jackson was Houston’s longest-tenured player.

Pro Football Focus’ No. 14-graded cornerback in 2018, Jackson began the 2018 season at safety. He fared well there before being moved back to corner. The former first-round pick has been regarded as a top-flight tackler at the corner position throughout his career. The 2019 season will be Jackson’s age-31 campaign, so if he sticks at cornerback, Denver will have two corners north of 30.

Jackson’s impending deal may have interesting implications for longtime Broncos stalwart Chris Harris, who is no longer the team’s highest-paid corner. Jackson’s contract eclipses Harris’ by a considerable margin. Jackson has yet to make a Pro Bowl. Considering the soon-to-be 30-year-old Harris is one of this era’s premier corners, it will be interesting to see how Denver addresses the four-time Pro Bowler’s situation. The Broncos are believed to be discussing a Harris extension, but nothing is imminent on that front.

The Broncos also have a need at safety opposite Justin Simmons, with the team having released four-year starter Darian Stewart. While most of Jackson’s NFL experience has come at corner, and he should be considered likely to replace Bradley Roby as the starter opposite Harris, the team may have an interesting fallback option for the well-compensated free agent.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Rumors: Broncos, Crennel, Rhule, Henry

Mike Munchak is once again a popular head coaching candidate, with at least four teams interested in his services. But we heard last night that Munchak has strong interest in the Broncos‘ opening, and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) reports that Munchak has emerged as the early favorite for that position. Helping the Broncos’ cause is the fact that Munchak has family, including a granddaughter, in the Denver area.

Now for more rumors and rumblings from the AFC:

  • The Broncos are blocking other teams from interviewing senior personnel adviser Gary Kubiak for offensive coordinator jobs, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Kubiak wants to remain in Denver anyway, but he has expressed interest in returning to the sidelines as an OC, and the Broncos would like him to serve in that role under whomever they hire as their next head coach (assuming that person is comfortable with such an arrangement). The Bengals and Falcons had requested interviews.
  • Texans free agents-to-be Kareem Jackson and Tyrann Mathieu want to be back in Houston next year, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. There has been no word on whether the Texans will move to re-sign Jackson, but the team does want Mathieu back, as we learned yesterday.
  • Romeo Crennel is expected to return as the Texans‘ DC in 2019, per head coach Bill O’Brien (via Wilson on Twitter).
  • The Jets have interest in interviewing Baylor head coach Matt Rhule for their own HC vacancy, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com suggests that Gang Green will get an interview with Rhule (Twitter link). The team is in Dallas interviewing Cowboys defensive backs coach Kris Richard today, and Albert Breer of SI.com believes New York brass could interview Rhule while they’re in Texas (Dallas is about 90 minutes from Waco).
  • Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers should be able to land a lucrative free agent deal this offseason, but since he is not a prototypical speed-rushing DE, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com believes it is difficult to pin down what his value will be on the open market. Reiss suggests Flowers could return to New England after testing the free agent waters.
  • The Chargers will remain without tight end Hunter Henry for today’s playoff bout in Baltimore, but if LA wins today, Rapoport says that Henry will be activated tomorrow in the hopes of suiting up against New England next week.
  • Rapoport reiterates that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will not be back in Baltimore next season, but Flacco (unsurprisingly) wants to continue his playing career, and Rapoport suggests that he will get an opportunity as a starter (video link). The only real question is whether Baltimore will be able to trade him or if the club will be forced to cut him.
  • In addition to Flacco, the Ravens will need to decide what to do with impending free agent C.J. Mosley in the offseason. It would probably be unwise to sink too much money into an inside linebacker who struggles in coverage, but Mosley’s leadership abilities for a defense that could be losing a number of key veterans will certainly be a factor in contract negotiations, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.

Extra Points: Bills, McCoy, Chargers, Texans

Delicia Gordon, the ex-girlfriend of Bills running back LeSean McCoy, will hold a press conference on Friday to explain why she is “certain” McCoy was involved in a July home invasion that left her battered and bloodied, writes Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. While Georgia police haven’t yet uncovered any direct evidence linking McCoy to the incident, Gordon is offering a $20K reward for information tying McCoy to the crime. Reports earlier this month indicated McCoy was not expected to face charges stemming from the invasion, while the NFL also hasn’t expressed any interest in suspending him. On the field, McCoy is questionable for Sunday’s contest against the Vikings as he deals with a rib injury.

  • Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget is suing athletic trainer Ian Danney for $15MM in damages after Danney allegedly injected the former first-round pick with a banned NFL substance, as Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com details. Danney reportedly told Liuget he was using an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory to treat pain, but Liuget alleges the substance led to his four-game performance-enhancing drug suspension. Liuget ultimately accepted a hefty pay cut from Los Angeles, as his pay was slashed from $8MM to just $935K (with more money available via incentives). As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, Danney treats dozens of NFL players, so this case could be crucial on a league-wide basis.
  • The Texans are open to moving veteran defensive back Kareem Jackson back-and-forth between safety and cornerback, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes. Jackson, a longtime corner, shifted to safety this offseason to replace Andre Hal, but moved back to corner against the Titans in Week 2. Now 30 years old, Jackson graded as just the No. 95 cornerback in 2017, per Pro Football Focus, so lining him up in that position certainly has its risks. Houston head coach Bill O’Brien said Jackson’s role will be determined on a week-to-week basis, and where Jackson lines up will affect whether Aaron Colvin (cornerback) or Justin Reid (safety) is viewed as a starter.
  • Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell is a name to watch in NFL circles, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. A general manager brought up Campbell’s name this summer, per Breer, and another executive mentioned Campbell after the Cylcones competed with Oklahoma last weekend. Campbell, who was highly successful at Toledo before taking over the Iowa State program in 2016, finished with an 8-5 record last year.

Texans Moving Kareem Jackson To Safety

Kareem Jackson has been a key part of every Texans secondary this decade, but in advance of his ninth season, the plan will be for him to line up at a different position.

The Texans are planning to move Jackson from cornerback to safety this season, Bill O’Brien said during an interview on Sports Radio 610 (Twitter link, via John McClain of the Houston Chronicle). Jackson has started 108 games at corner for the Texans since arriving as a first-round pick in 2010.

Houston may be thinner at safety than it expected, with Andre Hal being recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The Texans signed Tyrann Mathieu and plan for him to work exclusively at safety, and they used a third-round pick on Justin Reid. But Jackson, who is entering his age-30 season, is now expected to factor into this mix.

Johnathan Joseph re-signed with the Texans this offseason, and the team added slot corner Aaron Colvin as well. They join 2015 first-rounder Kevin Johnson. Working as Houston’s slot cornerback, Jackson started 14 games last season. He rated as Pro Football Focus’ No. 95 cornerback in 2017. He fared much better in 2016, rating as the advanced metrics site’s No. 35 corner (and fifth among full-time slot corners).

Jackson is the Texans’ longest-tenured player. He’s signed through the 2018 season and stands to earn $9MM this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Sullivan, Chargers, K. Jackson

We don’t cover every NFL injury at Pro Football Rumors, but generally if a quarterback or another notable player is expected to miss time, or if an injury is considered serious, we’ll pass that news along, since those are the injuries most likely to result in a roster move. Here are a few updates from around the NFL on injuries sustained in Week 7:

  • Vikings center John Sullivan, who underwent a lumbar microdiscectomy prior to the regular season, suffered a setback and had another surgical procedure, head coach Mike Zimmer said today (Twitter links via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press). Sullivan is on the injured reserve list with the designation to return, meaning he’d be eligible to return as soon as Week 9, but according to Zimmer, the center’s odds of playing this season are minimal (Twitter link via Tomasson).
  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com passes along updates on a pair of Chargers injuries, reporting that the team fears linebacker Denzel Perryman has a torn pectoral, while guard Orlando Franklin is believed to have an MCL injury (Twitter links). Both players were set to undergo MRIs today to assess the damage.
  • Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson will be out “for a while” due to a sprained ankle, head coach Bill O’Brien told reporters today, including Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).
  • Browns head coach Mike Pettine said today that Josh McCown is day to day with a shoulder injury, adding that “if our starting QB is physically able to play, we’ll start him” (Twitter links via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). Johnny Manziel, who is currently under investigation by the NFL over a recent off-field incident, would be next in line if McCown can’t go.
  • In other Browns injury news, free safety Jordan Poyer is expected to miss time due to a shoulder issue, per Pettine (Twitter link via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal).

AFC South Notes: Orakpo, Colts, Jackson

As we wait for Thursday’s free agent action to ramp up, let’s check in on some items from around the AFC South….

  • After visiting the Titans yesterday, Brian Orakpo remains in Tennessee and has yet to officially set up a time to visit the Cardinals, reports Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter links). A visit to Arizona is the plan for Orakpo if and when he leaves the Titans meeting, but as he said yesterday, “anything can happen.”
  • The Colts have signed Kendall Langford and Trent Cole and brought back Mike Adams in free agency, but after adding veteran running back Frank Gore, wide receiver Andre Johnson, and guard Todd Herremans on offense, the team figures to focus primarily on its defense in next month’s draft, tweets Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. One exception, Holder notes (via Twitter), will be drafting a young running back, if the right guy is available.
  • Kareem Jackson‘s new deal with the Texans includes $16MM in fully guaranteed money, but practically speaking, the full guarantee is $20MM, since the cornerback gets a $4MM roster bonus today, tweets Albert Breer of the NFL Network.
  • According to Peter King of TheMMQB.com (via Twitter), a source close to Marcus Mariota advised King not to minimize the Titans‘ interest in the quarterback, suggesting they’re “very serious.” Whether that reported interested is legit or a smokescreen remains to be seen.