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Malik Jackson provides much-needed boost to Jags' D-line

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 7: Defensive end Malik Jackson #97 of the Denver Broncos celebrates a sack against the Buffalo Bills during a game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 7, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

The deal: Per a report from Ian Rapoport, Jackson will sign a six-year, $85.5 million deal ($42 fully guaranteed) with Jacksonville.

Grade: B

What it means for the Jaguars: Jacksonville has taken big swings at major free agents along the defensive line each of the past two seasons, and whiffed big on both. They were either on the downside of their career (Chris Clemons), or not worth the money in the first place (Jared Odrick). Neither of those apply to Jackson, though, who has been a top-10 interior pass rusher each of the past two seasons, and is only 26 years old. Jackson’s 60 total pressures a year ago were almost double the team leader for the Jaguars in 2015 (Clemons with 34).

He’s a perfect fit for the Jaguars schematically, as well. Jackson led the NFL in pressures when lined up on the inside shade of an offensive tackle, and the Jags deployed a defensive lineman in that technique 631 times last year, the second-most in the league. The only concern is the money. At roughly $15 million per year, Jackson is among the 10 highest-paid defensive linemen in the league. A steep price, but one they had to pay to attract talent in this year’s market.

What it means for the Broncos: They couldn’t possibly keep Jackson and quarterback Brock Osweiler, so it certainly says something about their chances of retaining the QB. Their vaunted defensive line takes a hit in the pass-rushing department, but it was so dominant already that with Derek Wolfe, Von Miller, and DeMarcus Ware, they’ll still be a feared line. There is no easy replacement for a player of Jackson’s caliber, but it likely means more snaps for former first-round pick Sylvester Williams.

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