The Cleveland Browns, looking to get out from under his $9.433 million salary cap hit, released veteran middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson on Wednesday. Could the New York Giants be among the suitors for Jackson's services?
Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports tweeted Wednesday evening that Jackson had already been contacted by seven teams and was deciding which visits to take first. There was no indication that the Giants were among those teams. Pro Football Talk broke down the potential market for Jackson, and did not include the Giants in its initial list.
The Giants, of course, are hoping to bring back their own free-agent middle linebacker, Jon Beason. Perhaps Jackson could be a Plan B for the Giants if they can't re-sign Beason, or perhaps a player whose availability on the market they could use to keep Beason's price down.
Jackson, 30, is an eight-year veteran. Chris Pokorny, editor of SB Nation's Browns web site, Dawgs By Nature, says Jackson "still has a lot left in the tank and can be a quality starter."
"The issue was that Jackson was scheduled to be the second-highest paid player on the Browns in 2014, and he was due a $4 million roster bonus on March 15. The two sides weren't able to come to an agreement on a restructured deal, and it sounds like Jackson wanted to pursue other opportunities.
"Jackson has had a unique career when it comes to the systems he's played in. Because the Browns had four different coaching staffs while he was in Cleveland, he has a lot of experience in both the 4-3 and the 3-4 as a middle/inside linebacker. I believe he's actually played in both systems twice, off-and-on, between the four coaching staffs. Last year, he was in the 3-4 defense. The consensus among Browns fans is that he was better-suited for the 4-3, and that the issue was he was not a game-changer for what we were paying him. He was probably the most respected guy in the locker room, though, so he'll fit right in to wherever he goes."
Jackson's best year was 2011, when he had 115 tackles and 3.5 sacks. In 2013 he had 75 tackles and 1.5 sacks, while getting a less than impressive -11.6 grade from Pro Football Focus. In 2012, Jackson's PFF grade was -8.6. Before you judge Jackson harshly because of that, as valuable as Beason was to the Giants in 2013 PFF didn't like his play, either. Beason received a -17.1 score from PFF, mostly because he is a liability in pass coverage, where he scored an awful -16.0.
One other comparison between Jackson and Beason has to be in the area of health. Beason has dealt with knee, Achilles and shoulder injuries in recent years, and 2013 was his first full season since 2010. Jackson has not missed a start in the last three seasons.
Your thoughts, Giants' fans?