Malik Jackson: Latest News, Rumors, Speculation Surrounding Free-Agent DE

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent III

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 02:  Denver Broncos defensive end Malik Jackson speaks to the media at the Broncos media availability at the Santa Clara Marriott on February 2, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos have reportedly begun negotiations on a new contract with free-agent defensive end Malik Jackson, though other teams are interested in acquiring his services.

Continue for updates.

Jaguars Close to Landing Jackson

Tuesday, March 8

Mike Klis of 9News reported the Jacksonville Jaguars are closing in on a deal with Jackson that will make him the fourth-highest-paid defensive end in the NFL.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports first reported the Jaguars could get a deal done with Jackson "well before the start of [the] league year." 

Multiple Teams Considering Jackson

Tuesday, March 8

Klis reported the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders "expressed serious interest" in Jackson, along with the Broncos. 

Klis first reported on Feb. 14 that contract talks with the Broncos hadn't dissuaded Jackson from testing the open market. Klis then noted on Feb. 23 that Jackson is expected to be "highly coveted" in free agency. 

Broncos in Running to Retain Jackson

Tuesday, March 8

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported on Feb. 27 that Von Miller getting the franchise tag would cause Jackson to hit the open market.

However, Klis noted on Tuesday that "the Broncos are not out of the Malik sweepstakes because the team just received $19 million in cash savings from Peyton Manning’s retirement, and the team is trying to finalize salary reductions for outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware and left tackle Ryan Clady."

Afternoon Drive host Eric Goodman, citing a source, reported on Feb. 23 that the Broncos had come up to five years and around $50 million, which is closer to Jackson's target of five years, $75 million.

Jackson Comments on Free Agency

Monday, Feb. 15

Jackson was on the NFL Network's NFL Total Access Monday and discussed his impending free agency, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post:

In talking to my agent, I got a pretty good idea of what my worth is. But I would like to see, because you never know, just to see to see the numbers. But if Denver came with quality numbers close to what we feel I deserve, then I would stay.

When asked if he values getting the most money possible or playing for a contender, Jackson responded, per Jhabvala"I think it's 50-50. That's what makes it so hard because you want to get paid. That's your dream, to get paid and take care of your family. But you still want to win, too."

Jackson's Strong Finish May Make Him Too Pricey for Broncos

He had 45 combined tackles and five sacks in 2015 as part of Denver's elite defense, which allowed a league-low 283.1 yards per contest.  

In addition to his strong contributions in the regular season, Jackson saved some of his best stuff for last.

The 26-year-old scooped up a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, which was forced by Miller, and ran into the end zone for the first touchdown of Super Bowl 50. It was a big momentum boost as Denver proceeded to claim the Lombardi Trophy by a score of 24-10.

Speaking of Miller, the Super Bowl 50 MVP is also due to hit free agency along with several other key Broncos players. Starting inside linebackers Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan are free agents as well, so the front seven is in quite a precarious position.

General manager John Elway has done a masterful job of building Denver's roster and positioning the team for future success. The front office has been rewarded for its excellent talent evaluation, but the salary cap makes it difficult to keep everyone in place.

Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson alluded to how Jackson in particular may be the odd man out:

Thanks to their supreme secondary, and with Miller staying put, it's realistic to believe the Broncos will be fine no matter who else on the defense is lost, even Jackson.