As the Broncos’ defense dominated during the AFC playoffs and in the Super Bowl, many Redskins fans had their eyes on Denver defensive lineman Malik Jackson. The former fifth-round pick spent a lot of time in the opponents’ backfield and terrorized Tom Brady (3 hits, 4 hurries) and Cam Newton (1 hit, 5 hurries). He achieved a defensive lineman’s dream by running down a loose ball after Von Miller forced Newton to fumble and pouncing on it in the end zone for a touchdown.
He is slated to become a free agent and many thought that he would be a perfect addition to the Redskins’ defensive line. The unit is in the midst of an overhaul and Jackson could be a disruptive force. And he just turned 26 last month so he would fit with the desire to get younger.
It appears, however, that even before free agency begins Jackson is getting priced out of the Redskins’ range. The Denver Post is reporting that the Broncos have a long-term contract offer for Jackson on the table that averages over $10 million per year.
It’s the going rate. The Chargers’ Corey Liuget signed for a little over $50 million over five years last summer and the Steelers got Cam Heyward to sign on the line for six years and a shade under $60 million just before training camp started last year.
Jackson has said that he would like to get a deal worth $15 million per year. That seems unlikely but he could come close.
With such numbers being thrown around, the Redskins likely are priced out of the bidding before it even starts. Scot McCloughan said last month that the Redskins were not going to be “big players” in free agency and a deal like that would put lie to that statement. They won’t be hurting for cap room even if they franchise tag Kirk Cousins but they would be quite strapped to squeeze a contract for Jackson under their cap.
The Redskins will have to be content to watch the Broncos bid to keep Jackson against the likes of the Bears ($60.4 million in cap space), Raiders ($74.2 million), and other teams with lots of money to spend and defensive line needs. McCloughan will look to revamp the line in the draft, which is the smartest and cheapest way to do it anyway. They need to find their own Malik Jackson (who, as noted, was a fifth-round pick of the Broncos) and then try to retain his services after four years.