While most of the postseason and offseason storylines have focused on Peyton Manning, it is another former Vol and current Denver Bronco that might gain the most based on his performance during the 2015 season and 2016 playoffs.
Defensive lineman Malik Jackson, who emerged as a crucial part of Denver’s dominant defensive line, could be in line for a payday of as much as $50 million as he hits free agency this offseason, according to the Denver Post.
“The Broncos have negotiated with his agent, and have offered a longterm contract north of an average of $10-million a year, representing a step to keep him off the market which opens March 7,” Troy E. Renck of the Post reported on Tuesday evening. “It remains a challenge given Jackson’s anticipated suitors, who will have more salary cap space than the Broncos.”
Renck lists the Bears, Raiders, Texans and 49ers as other potential suitors for the 26-year old Jackson, who totaled 45 tackles and five sacks during the 2015 season.
Another report says that Jackson might be seeking as much as $75 million over five years.
Meanwhile on the Manning front, Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak said on Wednesday that he is free to take his time as he sorts out his options for 2016.
“Nothing has changed to that point,” Kubiak said, via NFL.com. “I think him and John [Elway] have had some conversations, I had a brief one with him yesterday and we’ll be talking probably today – maybe this week. But I want him to take his time.”
That time, however, is somewhat limited with Manning’s massive $19 million contract for the 2016 season becoming guaranteed on March 9. Backup quarterback Brock Osweiler is set to hit free agency if the Broncos don’t re-sign him first, so the Super Bowl champs have some major decisions to make in the coming weeks.