On Wednesday, February 26, 2014, news broke that the Cleveland Browns released arguably one of their best players – LB D’Qwell Jackson.
While players getting cut for being “cap casualties” isn’t an odd thing in the NFL, it certainly is odd when a really good player making average money is one of the victims. Jackson was drafted by the team in 2006 and has always been praised for leadership and class – echoed again by Ray Farmer in the statement following his release.
The move doesn’t really make sense for the Browns because they are one of the few teams in the league in a great salary cap situation. Jackson was due to earn a $4 million roster bonus as of next week and a base salary of $2.6 million. It is being reported that the cut was “mutual” as Jackson was looking for a new situation and a fresh start from a franchise in Cleveland that seems to making some kind of cut, firing, hiring, or trade of staff every single season.
The Tennessee Titans wasted very little time on contacting Jackson to arrange an interview. I can’t say that I’m surprised though because his former defensive coordinator Ray Horton is now in Nashville. Truth be told, soon as I heard of Jackson’s release the Titans immediately came to mind.
As I stated in an article earlier this week, new President/CEO Tommy Smith said he wouldn’t be afraid to be aggressive in pursuing free agents they deemed “big” targets. If the Titans could secure Jackson and somehow finagle signing Washington Redskins pending free agent LB Brian Orakpo – the Titans linebackers go from being a weakness to perhaps one of the biggest strengths.
It doesn’t take an NFL analyst to know that the Titans must upgrade their linebackers whether it be through the draft or free agency. The Titans did an excellent job in pursuing SS Bernard Pollard last year and they have the ability to make the same kind of splash this year with the addition of Jackson, who will also bring more leadership to the team.
We will just have to wait and see how this plays out because the Denver Broncos wasted little time in arranging an interview with Jackson as well.