Malik Jackson Released by Jaguars After 3 Seasons with Team

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2019

FILE - In this Sept. 23, 2018, file photo, Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson (97) gestures during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Jacksonville, Fla. Jackson is no longer a starter and his playing time is dwindling, clear signs his tenure in Jacksonville is nearing an end. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The Jacksonville Jaguars released defensive tackle Malik Jackson Friday after three seasons with the franchise.

Josina Anderson of ESPN first reported the impending move.

Jackson has three seasons left on the six-year, $85.5 million contract he signed with the Jags in March 2016. His coming release will leave $4 million in dead cap space and a cap saving of $11 million for 2019, per Spotrac.

The 29-year-old Los Angeles native said in December he was likely to move on after losing his starting role during the 2018 NFL campaign.

"In my mind, if I'm third or fourth on the depth chart making $14.5 million to $15 million, I don't see too much future for me in Jacksonville," Jackson told reporters. "I'm not trying to be a journeyman by any means. But it's a business, and soon as you try to forget that then it's a rude awakening for sure."

The University of Tennessee product finished 2018 with 32 total tackles and 3.5 sacks while playing all 16 regular-season games for the sixth straight year.

Jackson racked up 14.5 sacks across his first two seasons in Jacksonville, including a career-high eight in 2017. His drop in overall play—Pro Football Focus graded him as the league's 85th-best interior defender in 2018—led to his demotion.

Now the 2017 Pro Bowl selection will enter the free-agent market and likely attempt to find a landing spot where he'll be locked in as a starter next season.

Jackson may be forced to accept a short-term, incentive-laden deal as he attempts to show last year's drop off was a fluke, not a sign of a precipitous decline as he heads toward age 30.