Report: Jackson to visit Broncos, others

According to Jason La Canfora, free agent linebacker D'Qwell Jackson is set to visit the Titans and Broncos in the coming days, with a meeting with the Vikings possibly to follow.

Cleveland released their longtime leader on Wednesday after eight seasons with the team, rather than pay him a $4M roster bonus due on March 15.

The 30-year-old former second-rounder was also set to make a salary of $3.93M this season.

Jackson says he was willing to restructure his deal to stay with the only NFL team he's played for, even while acknowledging that "it sucks" to lose "year after year."

The Browns won 10 games during Jackson's sophomore season of 2007, but won only four or five games in each of his other seven.

Beloved in Cleveland by teammates, media, and fans alike, Jackson issued the following statement upon his release:

Eight years ago I began a journey that blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of a wonderful organization and community. I want to take this time to thank each and every one of you for opening your arms and hearts to my family and me, and for making Cleveland an easy place to love and call home. It’s been an honor playing in front of you.

 I also would like to thank the Browns players, coaches and staff for their tireless work and commitment.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all and will always carry you with me.

The 6-0, 240-pounder says he's seeking "more stability" from his next NFL home, and that shouldn't be too much to ask.

Jackson played under four different head coaches and five defensive coordinators with the Browns, and was apparently upset by their firing of Rob Chudzinski after just one year as head coach.

Obviously, Denver's would be the most stable situation among Jackson's first scheduled destinations, but La Canfora says seven teams had contacted the linebacker following his release.

Like Cleveland, Tennessee and Minnesota are undergoing head coaching changes, but the Titans defense is run by Ray Horton, who was the Browns' DC in 2013.

Broncos pro personnel director Tom Heckert was the Browns' GM when Jackson signed his last contract in 2012.

Since Heckert joined Denver's front office, the team has signed several ex-Browns, but none with the experience or acclaim of Jackson.

According to Jeff Legwold, Jackson will be at Dove Valley on Monday.

Injuries cost the Florida native much of his 2009 season and all of his 2010 campaign, but he played in 97 games (96 starts) in eight seasons, and started all 16 games in each of the past three years.

Over that time, Jackson has accumulated 915 total tackles, 11.5 sacks, eight interceptions (for one touchdown), 28 passes defensed, and five forced fumbles.

According to PFF, he graded out at -11.6 while playing 1,160 defensive snaps (missing only one snap) for Cleveland in 2013.

His grade for 2012 wasn't much better (-8.6 in 1,154 snaps); he earned a healthy +8.0 mark over 1,096 snaps in 2011.

That Cleveland released Jackson so far ahead of free agency and their roster bonus deadline was likely a nod to his popularity and long tenure.

It's a favor that should mean the Maryland alum will be able to recoup most, if not all of the money he'd been scheduled to make in 2014.

Denver has settled for relying upon graybeards at the Mike position - Keith Brooking (37) in 2012, and Paris Lenon (36) - for two years running, after their planned starters faltered (Joe Mays, Wesley Woodyard).

Brooking and Lenon were each late, cheap additions, signed during Denver's past two training camps.

Jackson would cost significantly more, but create the very stability for Denver that he's seeking for himself.

Such a premium might be worth settling the Broncos' perennial question mark position, and given that the salary cap may be even higher ($133M) than recently thought, they can definitely afford it.


Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM