Malik Jackson

Browns To Sign DL Malik Jackson, LB Anthony Walker

After adding two members of the Rams’ starting secondary, the Browns are turning their attention to the front seven. They agreed to terms with defensive lineman Malik Jackson and linebacker Anthony Walker on Friday, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com and Yahoo’s Charles Robinson (Twitter links).

Jackson’s Broncos tenure overlapped with Joe Woods‘, with the current Browns DC having coached Denver’s secondary during Jackson’s stay. The nine-year veteran will come to Cleveland after spending two seasons in Philadelphia. A four-year vet, Walker is Ohio-bound after playing out his rookie contract in Indianapolis.

While Jackson was a starter in multiple schemes in Denver — including in Wade Phillips‘ 3-4 look that helped the Broncos win Super Bowl 50 — he has worked primarily as a 4-3 defensive tackle since joining the Jaguars in 2016. Part of the Jags’ “Sacksonville” defense that pushed the team to the Super Bowl LII precipice, Jackson made the Pro Bowl after an eight-sack season in that 2017 campaign. However, the Jags made him a cap casualty ahead of their rebuild in 2019.

The Eagles signed Jackson shortly after, but he missed the ’19 season because of an injury. Jackson registered 2.5 sacks and logged 13 QB hits for the Eagles last season, returning to play in 15 games. The soon-to-be 31-year-old D-lineman will join a Browns team that just lost Larry Ogunjobi in free agency. Jackson could be in line to team with Sheldon Richardson as a starter in Cleveland.

Walker started alongside Darius Leonard for three seasons with the Colts. Working as Indianapolis’ primary middle linebacker, Leonard’s sidekick registered 321 tackles from 2018-20 and did not miss a game. He also posted 18 tackles for loss in that span, including 10 in 2018. Pro Football Focus did not grade Walker particularly well last season, slotting him near the bottom of its linebacker hierarchy, but the former fifth-round pick brings significant experience to a Browns defense that ranked 25th in DVOA last year.

In addition to the Jackson and Walker additions, the Browns have signed John Johnson and Troy Hill this week. They also re-signed linebacker Malcolm Smith.

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Eagles Release DT Malik Jackson

Malik Jackson‘s stint with the Eagles has officially come to an end. The team announced today (via Twitter) that they’ve released the defensive tackle.

This move doesn’t come as a huge surprise; we learned back in January that the veteran was likely on his way out of Philly. The front office had adjusted Jackson’s contract to accommodate the impending transaction, a move that also saved the organization a chunk of cash.

The Eagles signed Jackson to a three-year, $30MM pact in March of 2019, and it was immediately derailed when he suffered a foot injury in the first game of that season that knocked him out for the entire year. He returned to play in 15 games this year, but only played around half the defensive snaps and not at a high enough level to warrant his hefty salary.

The 2012 fifth-round pick of the Broncos had a few really good years with the Jaguars and is still only 30, so there will be interest. While he’s far removed from his 2017 Pro Bowl campaign, the veteran still seems like he’s good for around three sacks per season.

Eagles Adjust Contracts Of Alshon Jeffery, Malik Jackson, Both On Way Out

The Eagles’ disastrous 2020 campaign has come to an end, and to say they’ve got a pivotal offseason ahead of them would be a massive understatement. Obviously the team has to figure out their quarterback situation, but that’s far from the only issue that needs to be addressed.

They took one step forward on Monday as the team has adjusted the contracts of receiver Alshon Jeffery and defensive tackle Malik Jackson, sources told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Before these moves Philly had the worst cap situation in the league, with a projected $70MM deficit against the 2021 cap. The move reduced the base salaries for both to give some immediate flexibility, but the agreed upon arrangement will force the Eagles to either cut the players or negotiate new deals with them.

As Mike Garafolo of NFL Network tweeted, the expectation is that Philly will move on from both players, so they aren’t actually going to play 2021 at these reduced salaries and the restructure is more of a procedural move. It’s a win for the Eagles and also lets the players know their futures sooner so they can plan accordingly and hit free agency with everybody else instead of being left looking for a new team closer to the start of next season.

The Eagles signed Jackson to a three-year, $30MM pact in March of 2019, and it was immediately derailed when he suffered a foot injury in the first game of that season that knocked him out for the entire year. He returned to play in 15 games this year, but only played around half the defensive snaps and not at a high enough level to warrant his hefty salary. The 2012 fifth-round pick of the Broncos had a few really good years with the Jaguars and is still only 30, so there will be interest.

Jeffery is wrapping up a four-year stint in Philadelphia and will always have a large place in franchise history for his contributions to the 2017 team that won Super Bowl LII. Jeffery started all 16 games that year, racking up 789 yards and nine touchdowns. He had another very solid 2018 campaign but his play fell off a cliff last year as he dealt with injuries that limited him to ten games.

This past season he appeared in only seven contests due to injury, catching only six passes for 115 yards. The 2012 second-round pick from South Carolina turned into a star during his early career with the Bears, and is still only 30 as well, although he does have significant health question marks. It’ll be very interesting to see what his market looks like.

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Eagles’ Miles Sanders Out 1-2 Weeks, Zach Ertz 3-4

Just when it looked like the Eagles might finally be getting some guys, like DeSean Jackson, back from injury, they lose a handful more. Running back Miles Sanders is expected to miss 1-2 weeks with his knee injury, while tight end Zach Ertz will miss 3-4 with a high ankle sprain, Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

The hits didn’t stop there, as Mortensen noted in a follow-up tweet that defensive lineman Malik Jackson and offensive tackle Jack Driscoll are both looking at potential two-week absences. The injuries couldn’t come at a worse time for Philly, as they’re now 1-4-1 on the year and preparing for a divisional game against the Giants on Thursday Night Football.

Sanders has been one of the few bright spots on the team this season, and he had 118 yards on only nine carries before going down against Baltimore. Ertz’s injury is brutal since fellow tight end Dallas Goedert is already on injured reserve with an ankle injury of his own. Philly entered the year with a two-headed monster at tight end, and now both are on the shelf.

That being said Goedert is eligible to return as soon as this week, and if he’s able to go against the Giants that would be huge. Ertz hasn’t been putting up the numbers we’re used to seeing from him, and he’s reportedly very frustrated about his contract situation.

Jackson is a starter on defense, so that’s a big loss as well. Driscoll is a fourth-round rookie who found himself starting at right tackle on Sunday after an injury to Lane Johnson. The Eagles were already thin at tackle after the season-ending injury to Andre Dillard in August, and if Johnson isn’t ready to return the situation is going to get dire. It’s just been that type of season for Philadelphia.

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Eagles Exercise Options On Carson Wentz, Alshon Jeffery, Others

The Eagles picked up Zach Ertz‘s 2021 option earlier today, but that wasn’t the front office’s only move. The NFL transactions report shows that the organization exercised the options on quarterback Carson Wentz, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, defensive end Brandon Graham, offensive guard Isaac Seumalo, and defensive lineman Malik Jackson.

As Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com writes, these moves were merely “procedural,” and similar to the Ertz move, they’re not all that surprising.

Jordan Dajani and Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports provide some helpful insight on these moves. For instance, Wentz’s option had to be exercised by today. Otherwise, his 2020 salary was set to jump to more than $30MM, and the remaining four years of his extension would be void. Instead, the quarterback will earn a $1.38MM base salary with a cap hit of $18.65MM.

The Jeffery move is a bit surprising, as the team was reportedly looking to move on from the wideout. On the flip side, the organization would have been hit with more than $16MM in dead cap by making the veteran a post-June 1st cut. Therefore, it’s not shocking to see the organization make a procedural move until they find a potential trade partner.

Per Dajani and Kerr, Graham will earn a $1.36MM base salary with a $6.28MM cap hit in 2020. Seumalo’s option bonus means the 2022-24 portion of his contract kicks in, while Jackson’s $2.4MM option bonus prevented his base salary from jumping to $10MM.

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Eagles’ Malik Jackson Done For Season

Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson is expected to miss the season with a Lisfranc injury suffered on Sunday against the Redskins (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport). Jackson is slated to undergo surgery next week and will be placed on injured reserve this week. 

Fortunately, for the Eagles, they have depth on the defensive line outside of Jackson – Tim Jernigan is there to help fill in the interior gap while Vinny Curry and Josh Sweat are on hand to help on the bookends. In the coming days, it seems likely that the Eagles will also add another big man to help.

Jackson joined the Eagles on a five-year, $50MM deal in the offseason, though it’s really more like a two-year deal giving the Eagles flexibility on the remaining three. The pact includes $17MM guaranteed.

Last year, Jackson notched just 32 tackles and 3.5 sacks for the Jaguars, with Pro Football Focus ranking him 85th among 112 interior defenders. However, he was a Pro Bowler as recently as 2017 and enjoyed a solid first season in Jacksonville. Jackson also racked up 14.5 sacks across his final three years in Denver, despite only spending one of those campaigns as a full-time starter.

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NFC East Notes: Giants, Cowboys, Jackson

Entering another will-they/won’t-they draft regarding a first-round quarterback investment, the Giants have been setting up meetings with the top prospects. John Mara confirmed he wants the Giants to come away with a quarterback in this year’s first round, and the Giants now have two of the first 17 selections in this draft. But the owner will not force a need pick, despite how glaring the need is.

I would like to come out of this draft with a quarterback, but here’s the thing: Show me what the grades are,” Mara said, via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. “What’s the value?,” Mara said. “If the top quarterbacks are graded towards the bottom of the first round or even the second round, I’m not going to insist that we take one at No. 6 or even No. 17.”

Rumors have emerged about the Giants cooling on this year’s crop of quarterbacks, but that could change after visits and workouts. They are not looking to package their Nos. 6 and 17 picks to move up, either. Dave Gettleman does not believe a non-first-round pick will cut it as Eli Manning‘s successor, so this draft figures to be critical. But the 2020 class is, as of now, viewed as a better potential crop of passers, complicating Big Blue’s scenario.

The worst thing you can do is try to force the issue and then you end up with a quarterback that isn’t worth taking at the particular spot,” Mara said. “Would we love to have a quarterback coming out of this draft? Yes, but only if we have a conviction about him. And we’re not there yet.”

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Although Amari Cooper showed immense promise with the Cowboys, he has produced uneven work samples the past two seasons. Nevertheless, the Cowboys are committed and ready to discuss a high-end extension. The new deal for Antonio Brown and one that may be coming for Julio Jones have not fazed Dallas, per Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link). The Cowboys were planning a re-up for the former top-five pick immediately after acquiring him, but after Cooper posted two 180-yard games (prior to three sub-35-yard showings), the negotiations figure to be more interesting.
  • The Cowboys’ glut of extension-eligible young talents likely steered them away from Earl Thomas. Their top bid was not going to contend with the Ravens’, Jerry Jones said (via David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, on Twitter). Thomas signed a four-year, $55MM deal. The Cowboys are still looking at safeties.
  • It does not look like Brandon Graham will be moving inside as much in 2019. On passing downs, the Eagles want to deploy Malik Jackson as the interior sub-package pass rusher alongside Fletcher Cox, filling the Michael Bennett role, Howie Roseman said (via Philly.com’s Zach Berman, on Twitter). This adds up, considering Jackson has been an interior defender for most of his career. Having added Jackson and brought back Vinny Curry, the Eagles’ defensive line again profiles as one of the NFL’s deepest position groups.

Contract Details: Jackson, Verrett, Roberts, Williams, Paulsen

Some assorted contract details from around the NFL:

  • Malik Jackson, DT (Eagles): Five years, $50MM, $17MM guaranteed. $9MM signing bonus, $1MM 2019 salary guaranteed. $7.6MM salary in 2020, $4.6MM of which is guaranteed. Base salaries of $9MM, $10MM, and $11MM in 2021-2023. Twitter link via Dan Graziano of ESPN.com.
  • Jason Verrett, CB (49ers): One year, cap charge of $1.5MM. $1.1MM salary of which $600K is guaranteed, plus $400K signing bonus. Verrett “can earn up to $3 million for the season if he is active for all 16 games. It’s $31,250 per game on 53-man roster (up to $500k) and an additional Roster Bonus of $62,500 per game on 46-man game day roster (up to $1 million)”. Twitter links via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com.
  • Darryl Roberts, CB (Jets): Re-signed. Three years, $18MM max value, but essentially only a one year deal according to Darryl Slater of NJ.com. There’s $6MM in guaranteed money, with another $2MM of his 2020 salary guaranteed for injury only. $5MM salary in 2020, $6.5MM salary in 2021, and zero dead money in either year if they want to cut him.
  • Tyrell Williams, WR (Raiders): Four years, $44MM. There was originally reported to be $22MM in guaranteed money, but that’s apparently not true. There’s only $10MM in guaranteed money in the contract, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Logan Paulsen, TE (Falcons): Re-signed. Paulsen’s one year deal will have a base salary of $930K. Twitter link via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.

Extra Points: Golden, Jackson, Marshall

Here’s the latest from around the NFL:

  • The Giants have interest in Cardinals free agent Markus Golden, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). As per usual, free agent pass rushers are expected to cash in big, so Golden could be looking at a substantial deal. Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher coached Golden in Arizona in 2016 when he notched 12.5 sacks, so it’s a logical fit.
  • The Broncos placed a call on Malik Jackson after his release from Jacksonville, a source close to the player tells Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter). However, the Broncos didn’t really need Jackson, and they have placed a greater emphasis on finding a nose tackle. Jackson, of course, inked a three-year, $30MM deal with the Eagles this morning.
  • Five teams are interested in Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, according to ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson (on Twitter). As previously reported, Marshall’s option for 2019 will not be exercised.

Eagles To Sign Malik Jackson

And then there was one. Malik Jackson will sign with the Eagles, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Word of Jackson’s impending deal comes moments after we learned the Eagles and Packers were the leading contenders to sign the defensive tackle

When all is said and done, it will be a three-year, $30MM deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). There’s no word yet on the guarantees or pay structure, but it sounds like a solid deal for both sides.

Jackson joined the Jaguars on a six-year, $85.5MM in 2016. Then, last week, the Jaguars released him in a cost-cutting measure. His release did not come as a huge surprise – Taven Bryan supplanted him down the stretch of the 2018 season and his contract precluded the club from trading him.

Last year, Jackson notched just 32 tackles and 3.5 sacks, with Pro Football Focus ranking him 85th among 112 interior defenders. However, he was a Pro Bowler as recently as 2017 and enjoyed a solid first season in Jacksonville. Jackson also racked up 14.5 sacks across his final three years in Denver, despite only spending one of those campaigns as a full-time starter.

With Jackson, the Eagles have successfully upgraded their defensive front after trading Michael Bennett to the Patriots.

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