D’Qwell Jackson has agreed to terms with the #Colts, per source.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 6, 2014
The Indianapolis Colts reached an agreement with coveted free-agent linebacker D'Qwell Jackson.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network broke word of a deal:
Welcome to the Colts, D'Qwell!— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) March 6, 2014
ESPN provides Jackson's reasoning behind signing with the Colts:
"It wasn't a financial decision, it was a decision to be around a good group of guys first and foremost and the chance to get to a Super Bowl,'' Jackson said. "It wasn't about money.''
Colts owner Jim Irsay officially welcomed Jackson to the franchise:
D'Qwell Jackson has agreed to terms with the Colts. 4yrs $22M with $11M guaranteed. Beats the 2014 guaranteed money he would've had with CLE— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 6, 2014
CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora provided the financial details of the four-year contract:
Agent Brian Mackler on D`Qwell Jackson "He asked to be released, hes been there 8 years & had 7 different coordinators." #Colts— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) March 6, 2014
Sirius XM NFL Radio provides Jackson's agent's thoughts:
Mackler cont.."Thats why when the other team's called he made it very clear to me that he wanted stability at the QB spot..." #Colts— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) March 6, 2014
LB D'Qwell Jackson had his Dolphins visit today and now will visit Indianapolis, per multiple reports.Will choose among those 2,Denver, Tenn— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) March 4, 2014
The Cleveland Browns released Jackson last week. They drafted him in the second round of the 2006 draft, and he had played his entire career in Cleveland before the team decided to let him enter the market.
The Maryland product immediately became a hot commodity. That didn't come as a surprise after he ranked seventh in the NFL with 141 total tackles last season. At 30, he's still a stabilizing force in the middle of a defense.
Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reported that the sweepstakes eventually came down to four teams before Jackson opted to join the Colts:
As I've said all along, D'Qwell Jackson is a good player. Don't think he's a difference maker. Other LB's available at lesser price.— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) March 6, 2014
Exactly how effective Jackson will be for Indianapolis is a question mark. While he's been a tackling machine throughout his career, which should help the team's subpar rush defense, he hasn't excelled in other areas.
Mike Wells of ESPN spoke with scout Matt Williamson, who said the veteran could be overrated but should be an upgrade and is also a good leader:
He is better than anyone (the Colts) have now at inside linebacker for sure. I like Jackson, but also think he is a bit overrated. A good quality player that racks up numbers, but needs to be protected and doesn't excel in one particular area. He has played in both a 3-4 and 4-3, never has to come off the field and is considered a strong leader.
Vic Lombardi of CBS Denver, where the Broncos were hoping to land Jackson, said he believes the recent AFC champions won't have trouble filling that void at a lesser price:
What's your opinion of the deal?
Even though Jackson isn't the most complete linebacker in the league, he should really help a Colts rush defense that ranked 26th last season. And it's been a consistent issue. Indianapolis hasn't ranked inside the top 20 in that category since 2007.
Having a field general like their newest addition should go a long way in ending that streak. Furthermore, by addressing that need, the Colts can focus their remaining offseason efforts on filling other holes on that side of the ball, most notably cornerback and safety.
As the playoffs showed, Indianapolis' offense should be in good hands moving forward with Andrew Luck leading the way. The defense gave up 87 points over two games, though. Fixing those issues is the only way the Super Bowl comes into focus.
Signing Jackson is a step in the right direction.