The Philadelphia Eagles are signing free agent interior defensive lineman Malik Jackson, according to a report from ESPN’s Josina Anderson. NFL insider Adam Schefter notes that the contract is reportedly worth $30 million over three years (so, NOT $10 million over three years as Schefter originally said). Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk was first to report the Eagles were interested in Jackson.
Signing Jackson, who turned 29 in January, makes sense for the Eagles because defensive tackle is a big need for Philadelphia. The Eagles declined to pick up Timmy Jernigan’s 2019 contract option last week and Haloti Ngata is set to be a free agent. In other words, the Eagles need to find someone who can start next to Fletcher Cox.
The 6-5, 290 pound Jackson began his NFL career as a fifth-round pick by the Denver Broncos in the 2012 NFL Draft. He had 14.5 sacks in 62 games with Denver before signing a huge six-year, $86 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars back in 2016. Jackson had 18 sacks in 48 games with the Jags before being cut by Jacksonville as a cap casualty last week. (The Jaguars are freeing up space to likely sign Nick Foles.)
Jackson’s status as a released player is a nice bonus because it means he will not count against the Eagles’ compensatory pick formula. The same could not be said if his contract was simply expiring instead.
Pro Football Focus graded Jackson as their 24 best interior pass rusher out of 129 qualifying players last season. His 51 total pressures rank tied for ninth most at his position. It’s real nice to be adding his pass-rushing juice to the Eagles’ defensive line.
Signing Jackson doesn’t necessarily rule out the Eagles selecting an interior defensive lineman high in the 2019 NFL Draft. Philly likes to heavily rotate their linemen under Jim Schwartz and this year’s class is loaded with d-line talent.
Grade the Eagles’ signing of Malik Jackson
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Here are some reactions to the reported Jackson signing:
Eagles defensive line— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) March 11, 2019
Starters: Derek Barnett, Malik Jackson, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham
Backup DE: Chris Long, Josh Sweat, Daeshon Hall, Joe Ostman
Backup DT: Treyvon Hester, Bruce Hector
Plus: Philly will likely draft at least 1 DL with 1 of their 3 picks in top 57.
This is a great signing for Philly.— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) March 11, 2019
Malik Jackson next to Fletcher Cox is ridiculous. Fantastic start to free agency for Howie Roseman. #Eagles— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) March 11, 2019
Malik Jackson is a good, smart signing for Eagles. Fits their defense. He's 29 three years removed from a six-year, $80M+ contract with Jacksonville. Has been a Pro Bowler, won a Super Bowl. Now lines up next to Fletcher Cox.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) March 11, 2019
Malik Jackson. Fantastic addition.— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) March 11, 2019
3 at 10 PER YEAR makes a lot more sense for Malik Jackson than 10 total.— Joe Dolan (@FG_Dolan) March 11, 2019
Still, while the Eagles weren't able to trade Nick Foles to Jacksonville... they essentially just acquired Jackson, who was cut by the Jaguars ostensibly to make room for Foles.
A $10M per figure will put Jackson just outside of the Top-10 for DT contracts.— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) March 11, 2019
The $14.2M contract he signed in 2016 w/ JAX was Top-3 among DTs in the league at the time.
Expect this to be a heavily front loaded contract that may even have an out after Year 1.
Signing Jackson does not preclude the Eagles from drafting a DT. Just doesn't make it a need early.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) March 11, 2019
Needs (not in order) are: 3-down RB, WR (speed)+depth, MLB, CB (speed, if Darby not re-signed).
Depth at G, OT, S, DE also needed.