News & Analysis

Down year leads to Malik Jackson’s release, but his floor as a pass-rusher is still valuable

Malik Jackson’s two best seasons of his career (2014-15) came in the final two years of his rookie contract with the Denver Broncos. His 81.2 and 78.8 overall grades in 2015 and 2016, respectively, landed him a six-year, $85 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Three seasons into the mega-deal, Jackson has been released.

Though he still produced 70.1-plus pass-rush grades in all three seasons of his Jacksonville tenure, Jackson and his 171 total pressures weren’t enough to keep Jacksonville’s brass from pulling the plug with two years remaining on the deal. Per ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Jackson “has been informed he will be released as early as today.”

Jackson, who celebrated his 29th birthday in January, shouldn’t be without a job for long. The 6-foot-5, 290-pound defensive interior earned a career-low 64.4 overall grade in 2018 largely because of a drop-off in run defense, but his value is in the passing game. He has earned a 69.9 pass-rush grade in each of the past five seasons and recorded two or more pressures in each of the Jags’ final seven games of the year in 2018.

Durability and high-floor pass-rush ability is sought after but rarely found in the NFL. Playing over 400 pass-rush snaps in each of the past six seasons and looking good doing it, Jackson brings has what every team is looking for right now.

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