The Jacksonville Jaguars are most certainly going to move on from veteran defensive tackle Malik Jackson in the offseason, be it via straight up release or via a trade. The writing is on the wall and Jackson himself acknowledges what his situation is.
“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 Jon Reid of The Florida Times-Union on Wednesday. “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 Jaguars would free up a good chunk of much needed cap space moving on from Jackson after the conclusion of the 2018 season, saving $11 million in cap room if they move on. In reality, Jackson’s massive free agent contract was always setup to be a two-year deal with a series of one-year deals after that in case it didn’t work or the team needed to move on. In this instance, I would frame it as the latter, as Jackson is still a good player but it’s simply just time to move on and save the space.
To Jackson’s credit however, even though he likely knows the team will move on from him after this season, he’s still making the most of it and helping out where he can.
“You see older guys get pushed out of the league and you don’t understand it but they’re still fighting,” Jackson told Reid. “For example, Peyton Manning when he got injured in Indy, but he was still teaching his guys and doing what he had to do to be a leader. I kind of learned that from him. I’m still trying to push guys and teach them. Whatever I’m going through doesn’t matter, the team is more important.”
Jackson also indicated he knows as a pass rushing defensive tackle with only one sack on the season, the final three games are important for his impending resume to 31 other teams be it via trade market or as a free agent once again.
Jackson, 28, was signed as a free agent during the 2016 offseason, receiving a six-year, $85.5 million deal with $31.5 million guaranteed at closing. The move was largely praised when it was made, although notably expensive, but Jackson produced and played like he earned the money his first two seasons with the Jaguars, picking up 14.5 sacks in those two seasons as well as making the Pro Bowl.
For whatever reason things just fell flat in 2018, much like the rest of the Jaguars team overall and it looks like both the team and Jackson are planning to move on in 2019.