Kareem Jackson

S Kareem Jackson Visits Colts

After spending the majority of his career in Houston, Kareem Jackson is flirting with another AFC South squad. According to Howard Balzer, the veteran safety visited the Colts today.

[RELATED: Colts Resume Julian Blackmon Talks]

After spending four-plus seasons with the Broncos, Jackson was claimed off waivers by the Texans in December, kicking off his second stint with the organization. The former first-round pick spent the first nine seasons of his career in Houston, including 2010 and 2011 campaigns where he played alongside current head coach DeMeco Ryans.

Jackson was limited to only 39 defensive snaps in his two appearances last season with the Texans, but he did start each of his eight appearances for the Broncos, compiling 51 tackles and a pair of interceptions. Pro Football Focus ultimately graded him 52nd among 95 qualifying safeties in 2023, including a top-20 positional grade for his coverage skills.

While Jackson’s 2023 ranking proved that he was still serviceable during his age-35 season, he’s pretty far removed from his top-end play during his first stint in Houston and his first few years in Denver. Jackson graded out as a top-10 safety in both 2019 and 2020, but he’s struggled to crack the top half of his position over the past three years.

In Indianapolis, Jackson would provide the Colts with some experienced depth, especially as they face some uncertainty at the position. We heard earlier today that the Colts had reengaged in talks with Julian Blackmon, although the starter has attracted interest from other teams. Otherwise, the team would have Rodney Thomas II and Nick Cross penciled in as the starting safeties. Thomas got an extended look in the starting lineup last season, but Cross (and Ronnie Harrison) ended up passing him on the depth chart by the end of the year.

Texans Claim S Kareem Jackson Off Waivers, Place S Jimmie Ward On IR

After his Broncos tenure came to an unceremonious end, Kareem Jackson will return to where his career began. The veteran safety was claimed off waivers Tuesday, as first reported by Aaron Wilson of KPRC2.

Jackson’s roster exemption for his second suspension of the 2023 season expired on Monday. After Denver elected not to activate him in time for the team’s Week 16 game, though, questions were raised about his future with the franchise. The Broncos waived Jackson with the intention of retaining him via the practice squad.

That will no longer be the case, as he will now head to Houston for the first time since his Texans tenure came to an end in 2018. Jackson was once a teammate of head coach DeMeco Ryans, and he spent nine years with the franchise after arriving in the NFL as a first-round pick. He could have a path to immediate playing time, given the corresponding move made alongside his addition.

The Texans placed fellow safety Jimmie Ward on injured reserve due to a quad injury, per Wilson. After nine years in San Francisco, Ward followed Ryans to Houston this offseason. He has served as a full-time starter in his first Texans campaign, collecting 50 tackles and one interception while providing experience to a transitioning team. Jackson will look to do the same as Houston chases a postseason berth over the final two weeks of the season.

“I’m thrilled to be back with the Texans,” the 35-year-old said, via Wilson. “It’s all coming full circle, having spent a lot of time in Houston. I’m really excited and happy for DeMeco and all the success he’s having. I’m here to be a piece of the puzzle and help them win these last two games and get to the playoffs.”

The Broncos are still alive for a wild-card berth, but their playoff hopes took a major blow with Sunday’s loss to the Patriots. Jackson officially leaving the organization confirms that P.J. Locke, who filled in as a starter during his suspensions, will remain in a first-team role to close out the season. Houston is one of three teams still eligible to win the AFC South, but failing that a wild-card spot is still within reach. If Jackson does see time in the 2023 postseason, it will be with his original NFL team.

Broncos To Waive S Kareem Jackson

3:15pm: The Broncos will move forward with the decision to waive Jackson, Mike Klis of 9News reports. Given the team’s decision not to activate ahead of last night’s game, the move comes as little surprise. Klis adds, however, that Denver intends to retain the veteran by signing him to the practice squad. Jackson is unlikely to garner much of a market on the waiver wire and if he clears, he will be free to re-join the Broncos. The news confirms Locke will continue in a full-time starting role.

12:44pm: Kareem Jackson‘s 2023 campaign has been marred by a pair of suspensions, and he has missed six games as a result. He is now eligible to return to the Broncos’ lineup, but it remains to be seen if that will take place.

The veteran safety was issued a four-game ban for repeated instances of unnecessary roughness, though he was able to have the ban reduced to two games on appeal. That was immediately followed by another hit using his helmet, however, which resulted in a new four-game suspension. Jackson has returned to practice with the Broncos via a one-week roster exemption, but it is set to expire today.

Denver would be required to open a roster spot to bring Jackson back into the fold. Notably, though, the team did not do so in time for yesterday’s game against the Patriots. The 35-year-old was thus a healthy scratch for a contest with signficant playoff implications. Chris Tomasson of the Denver Gazette reported over the weekend that the Broncos were taking a “day-to-day” approach with respect to getting Jackson back into game shape. A decision on activating or releasing him will now need to be made in the immediate future.

On that point, Denver7’s Troy Renck notes that the result of Denver’s Christmas Eve matchup could play in role in the team’s next move. The Broncos lost on Sunday night, dropping them to 7-8 on the season and dealing a signficant blow to their postseason chances. With a wild-card berth potentially out of reach, Renck adds the team may lean more toward a release than the comparatively easy decision of bringing him back into the fold had they won the game.

Jackson has been in Denver since 2019, serving as a full-time starter throughout his tenure there. For the third straight season, he finds himself on a one-year deal as he moves closer to the end of his career. With much of his 2023 salary ($2.52MM) having been paid out already, a release would not be expensive from Denver’s perspective. Moving on from the veteran would also solidify P.J. Locke as a starter, a role he has filled while Jackson served his suspensions.

Locke, a former UDFA, has enjoyed a career year in 2023. The 26-year-old has recorded 43 tackles, three sacks, one interception and two fumble recoveries this year, and he would be in store to add to that production if Jackson were to remain out of the picture. Locke is a pending free agent, so a first-team role to finish out the season could help boost his value on the open market.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/18/23

Monday’s minor moves:

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Commanders

With regular starter Corey Linsley absent since Week 3 of the season, Clapp has served as the Chargers’ starting center this year. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, Clapp will spend the rest of the season on injured reserve after suffering a knee injury. With a next-man-up mentality, the team has called up Tom from the practice squad to fill his place.

With Cheeseman now out of Washington, the Commanders will have to work fast to find a replacement as they currently do not have a long snapper anywhere on the roster.

Broncos S Kareem Jackson Suspended Four Games

NOVEMBER 21: Derrick Brooks, the jointly-appointed hearing officer overseeing Jackson’s appeal, has upheld the ban. Jackson will be forced to sit out four games, the NFL announced on Tuesday. As a result of the decision, the veteran will miss a total of six games this season for illegal hits; this latest suspension will cost him nearly $559K in forfeited salary. The disciplinary issues will no doubt hurt Jackson’s market this offseason, as he is a pending free agent.

NOVEMBER 20: Kareem Jackson has been slapped with his second suspension of the season. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports that the Broncos safety has been suspended four games “for repeated violations of the player safety rules.”

In the NFL’s release (h/t NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport), NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan cited a play from yesterday’s game where Jackson made illegal contact with Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs. Specifically, the league issued a suspension for violation of Rule 12, Section 2, Article 10 which states that “it is a foul if a player lowers his head and makes forcible contact with his helmet against an opponent.”

“Illegal acts that are flagrant and jeopardize the safety of players will not be tolerated,” Runyan wrote in a letter to Jackson. “The League will continue to​ stress enforcement of the rules that prohibit using your helmet to make forcible contact with your ​opponent.”

Following Denver’s Week 7 matchup with the Packers, Jackson was hit with a four-game ban for violating the league’s unnecessary roughness rules. Following an appeal, that suspension was knocked down to two games. The 35-year-old was just activated from the reserve/suspension list last week. Jackson was also tossed from Denver’s Week 2 game (and later fined) for a flagrant foul.

Jackson will be allowed to appeal his latest suspension. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the safety will indeed by appealing the punishment. If he does indeed sit four games, he’ll be eligible to return to the active roster in Week 16.

After spending the first nine seasons of his career with the Texans, Jackson joined the Broncos prior to the 2019 campaign. He started all 61 of his appearances through his first four seasons in Denver, and he’s started each of his eight appearances this year. The veteran has collected 51 tackles and two interceptions in 2023, and he had nine tackles in his return from suspension this past weekend.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/14/23

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Following a spree of illegal hits, Kareem Jackson was hit with a four-game ban back in October. That suspension ended up getting knocked down to two games, and following that absence, the defensive back has returned to the active roster. While Justin Simmons has long resided as the Broncos’ top safety, Pro Football Focus has graded Jackson as a top-20 player at the position this season.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai suffered a back injury that will require a stint on injured reserve, although there’s a chance the veteran lineman ends up having to miss the rest of the season. After starting all 25 of his appearances for the Lions between 2020 and 2021, Vaitai has started three of his six games in 2022.

Hunter Long was a third-round pick by the Dolphins in 2021 but only lasted two seasons in Miami, hauling in a single eight-yard catch. He was part of the Rams’ offseason trade return for Jalen Ramsey but hasn’t appeared in a game this season. The tight end landed on IR in early September with a thigh injury.

NFL Reduces Kareem Jackson’s Suspension To Two Games

Kareem Jackson will not end up missing a month of time because of his spree of illegal hits. After being handed a four-game suspension Monday, the veteran Broncos safety has seen his appeal reduce the ban.

The 14th-year vet’s appeal effort will trim the suspension to two games, ESPN.com’s Field Yates tweets. This will sideline Jackson for the Broncos’ rematch against the Chiefs and a Week 10 Bills tilt. Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks, jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA to hear the appeal, made the Tuesday ruling.

Although Jackson will be back sooner, he has still offered an unusual update to his career via this pattern of illegal hits. A Jackson penalty after a hit on a sliding Jimmy Garoppolo helped the Raiders hold off the Broncos in Week 1. Jackson was not ejected for that hit, but he has been tossed twice this season. The former cornerback’s end zone hit on Logan Thomas led to a Week 2 ejection, and that likely factored into officials’ decision to toss Jackson after another personal foul — for a hit on Packers tight end Luke Musgrave — on Sunday. After coming into the season known for making the successful transition from corner to safety in Denver, the 35-year-old defender added a notable chapter to his NFL legacy in what could well be his final season.

The Broncos initially brought in Jackson in 2019, giving him a three-year deal worth $33MM. Jackson played two seasons on that contract, and despite Denver cutting bait on the contract in 2021, the former first-round pick has agreed to one-year accords in each of the past three offseasons. He is currently attached to a $2.67MM deal that includes a $2.52MM base salary. This reduced suspension will cost Jackson just more than $279K. The nine-year Texan has started 68 games for the Broncos.

While Justin Simmons has long resided as the Broncos’ top safety, Pro Football Focus has graded Jackson as a top-20 player at the position this season. He has intercepted two passes, including a game-clinching pick of Justin Fields in Week 4. Simmons remains healthy going into the Kansas City rematch, but Denver is now down his top two sidekicks. The team lost regular contributor Caden Sterns for the season in Week 1. For the season’s first month, the Broncos were also without fourth-year backup P.J. Locke. But Locke, who made a game-sealing interception to close out the Broncos’ Week 7 win over the Packers, is off IR and in place to start alongside Simmons. Second-year cog Delarrin Turner-Yell, who started two games in place of Simmons this season, remains in the equation as well.

Broncos S Kareem Jackson Issued Four-Game Suspension

Kareem Jackson has had disciplinary issues for unnecessary roughness throughout the season, and his latest infraction will result in a lengthy ban. The veteran Broncos safety was handed a four-game suspension on Monday, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Jackson was ejected after delivering a hit on Packers tight end Luke Musgrave (video link). That marked the second time this year he was removed from a game, and added further to his issues with respect to discipline in 2023. He had accumulated four unnecessary roughness fines prior to Week 7 totaling nearly $90K.

As is his right, Jackson is appealing the ban, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports. That process will give him the opportunity to have the suspension reduced, but it is likely he will nevertheless have to miss some time given the accumulation of league discipline already handed down by the league in Jackson’s case. The 35-year-old’s recent history was taken into account, NFL VP of Football Operations Jon Runyan noted in a letter to Jackson.

The former first-rounder re-signed with the Broncos on a one-year deal this offseason, continuing his stay in the Mile High City. Jackson played his 200th regular season game on Sunday, 68 of which have come in Denver. Like fellow veteran safety Justin Simmons, Jackson has been floated as a potential trade chip ahead of the October 31 deadline.

Of course, his value will be hindered considerably if his suspension is upheld. Jackson has racked up 42 tackles and a pair of interceptions despite being forced out of two of his appearances early this season, though, so if his appeal is successful he could still garner interest from a contending team. For the time being, attention will turn to his appeal process, which will be heard by either Derrick Brooks or James Thrash, the league’s appeals officers.

Fourth-year Bronco P.J. Locke filled in for Jackson after he was ejected, and he recorded his first career interception in Denver’s win over Green Bay. Locke, 26, will likely handle a starter’s workload for however long Jackson is sidelined.

Broncos To Release OLB Frank Clark

OCTOBER 13: Unlike the Gregory last call, no trade partner emerged here. The Broncos are officially releasing Clark on Friday, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets. With the trade deadline still nearly three weeks away, Clark’s vested-veteran status will send him straight to free agency. Inactive for Thursday night’s game, the ninth-year veteran closes his Denver tenure with 36 defensive snaps.

OCTOBER 12: The Broncos opened the season with two 2015 second-rounders residing as their highest-profile edge rushers. By Week 7, both are likely to be out of the picture. After the Broncos dealt Randy Gregory to the 49ers, they are eyeing a separation from Frank Clark.

Rumored to be a trade candidate, Clark will not face the Chiefs tonight due to what the Broncos’ injury report classifies as an illness. The Broncos, however, are preparing to move on from Clark — via trade or release — in the near future, Field Yates of ESPN.com reports.

Clark, 30, restructured his one-year, $5MM contract recently, per Yates, giving up $1.69MM in guaranteed salary. The move trims Clark’s $3.5MM base salary to the prorated veteran minimum ($841K), NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo adds. This restructure will make Clark’s contract easier to move. Clark returned to action last week against the Jets, coming back after sustaining a groin injury in practice. Holding him out of tonight’s game will protect against a reinjury.

The former Seahawks and Chiefs edge rusher has generated some trade interest, and after the Gregory move, had been viewed as available. While Clark notched two double-digit sack seasons in Seattle and made memorable contributions during Kansas City’s playoff runs, he does not have a sack or a QB hit in his limited Denver run.

Although Clark will become an interesting hired gun of sorts moving forward, he spent several weeks in free agency waiting for other edge dominoes to fall. Leonard Floyd‘s one-year, $7MM Bills pact led to the Broncos giving Clark a one-year, $5MM deal shortly after they made Brandon McManus a post-June 1 cut. On that note, the Broncos should not expect too much in trade compensation here. Though, reducing Clark’s salary to the minimum will certainly help on that front. Denver collected a 2024 sixth-rounder from San Francisco for Gregory, whom the team was prepared to cut.

After calling out Gregory for poor effort in a 70-20 demolition at the Dolphins’ hands in Week 3, the Broncos benched him and moved 2022 second-round pick Nik Bonitto into the lineup. Bonitto is on a tear as a starter, combining for 4.5 sacks over the past two games. The Broncos have used 2021 seventh-round pick Jonathon Cooper (three sacks) as a starter since Week 1, with Clark coming off the bench in the team’s opener. Baron Browning, a 2021 third-rounder whom the team converted from inside linebacker last year, remains on the reserve/PUP list and will not play tonight. But Browning is likely on track to debut in Week 7, Denver7’s Troy Renck adds.

Deteriorating fits notwithstanding, a suddenly woeful Broncos defense could probably use Gregory and Clark — at least while Browning is out. These separations signal more moves are likely coming for a 1-4 team. While Sean Payton stopped short of saying the Broncos were shopping veterans, other clubs believe they are open for business ahead of the Oct. 31 deadline. Trade-rumor mainstays Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton are likely returning to the news cycle, with Renck adding Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson are two other names to monitor.

Clark sits behind only Willie McGinest and Bruce Smith in postseason sacks, with 13.5, but he did not live up to the five-year, $104MM deal the Chiefs gave him following a 2019 tag-and-trade transaction. Clark topped out at eight sacks in a season and has not tallied more than six in a single campaign since 2019. Two arrests on gun charges in 2021 led to a two-game suspension last year, and the Chiefs cut him this offseason. Still, Clark figures to land in a contending team’s pass-rushing rotation soon.

The Broncos picked up the pieces after John Elway‘s 1999 retirement far more quickly than they have post-Peyton Manning, and the years since the latter’s 2016 exit led to Denver becoming this period’s most prolific deadline seller. After dealing Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb over the past five years, it appears the Broncos will keep going as Payton attempts to build for the future. Jeudy and Simmons are signed through 2024, with Jeudy’s fifth-year option ($12.99MM) fully guaranteed. Sutton’s four-year, $60MM deal runs through 2025; Jackson is on a one-year contract.

AFC West Notes: Jackson, Jones, Broncos

J.C. Jackson suffered a ruptured patellar tendon during an Oct. 23 Chargers-Seahawks matchup. While this injury is among the toughest to surmount for an NFLer, the high-priced Bolts cornerback expects to be ready for training camp. Jackson has an appointment with the surgeon who performed his surgery, Dr. Neal El Attrache, this week, ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry notes. The sixth-year cornerback did not participate in the Chargers’ minicamp practices and will be a candidate to begin camp on the team’s active/PUP list. The Chargers could remove him from that list once he is cleared to practice. Only a placement on the reserve/PUP list once 53-man rosters are set would delay Jackson’s 2023 debut.

The Chargers, who gave Jackson a five-year deal worth $82.5MM in 2022, did not draft a cornerback or sign a notable free agent. The team has not re-signed veteran slot defender Bryce Callahan, though Asante Samuel Jr. has experience playing both inside and outside. A Callahan return would provide some insurance for the Bolts, but the 31-year-old cover man remains a free agent. Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • In talks with the Chiefs about a third contract, Chris Jones skipped minicamp and is lobbying to become the NFL’s second-highest-paid defensive tackle behind Aaron Donald. While these negotiations might bring complications — due to Donald’s AAV being $8.2MM north of the current second-highest-paid DT (Jeffery Simmons) — SI.com’s Albert Breer expects it to be finalized before training camp. It does not sound like these are particularly acrimonious negotiations. It will be interesting to see if Jones makes an aggressive push to approach a Donald-level salary, since the Chiefs would be unlikely to franchise-tag him in 2024 because of the 120% rule. The team tagged Jones in 2020, making his 2024 tag price 120% of his 2023 pay. That would give Jones a $33MM-plus cap figure if re-tagged, providing the All-Pro with leverage ahead of his latest platform year.
  • Shifting back to the secondaries in this division, the Broncos did brought back one of their veteran DBs midway through the offseason. Kareem Jackson re-signed for a fifth year in Denver. But the 14th-year pro only secured $153K guaranteed. That opens the door for the Broncos to move on, and 9News’ Mike Klis notes Caden Sterns is making his strongest effort yet to unseat Jackson for the safety gig alongside Justin Simmons. A 2021 fifth-round pick, Sterns has worked as Denver’s top backup safety for two seasons. A season-ending hip injury halted that run last year, and while Sterns entered the offseason as no lock to be ready for training camp, he made it back during Denver’s OTA sessions and participated in minicamp. Simmons and Jackson, 35, have been Denver’s safety starters since 2019.
  • The Chargers also added to their staff recently. They hired Noah Evangelides as a football research analyst, Neil Stratton of Insidetheleague.com tweets. Evangelides most recently served as a Northwestern graduate assistant.