With the NFL’s legal tampering period officially open, the Eagles quickly began to address their deficiencies along the defensive line.
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport first reported on Monday that Philadelphia is expected to sign veteran lineman Malik Jackson to a three-year, $30 million deal. the deal has not been agreed to as of yet and will not be made official until unrestricted free agents can begin joining new teams on Wednesday.
Jackson was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars last week after three seasons with the team. He made it halfway through his monster six-year, $85.5 million deal signed in 2016. However, there was no more guaranteed money in his deal and he’ll count just $4 million against the cap. The Jaguars wound up saving $11 million on the deal as they prepare to sign free-agent quarterback Nick Foles this week.
The 29-year-old was one of the top defensive tackles in the game over his first two seasons with the Jaguars from 2016-2017. He racked up a combined 14.5 sacks with four forced fumbles while starting all 32 games. Last season saw him fall out of favor with the organization as he started just 10 games while playing in just 61.4-percent of the team’s defensive snaps. It yielded just 3.5 sacks on the year, his lowest output since 2014 when he was a member of the Denver Broncos.
Still, he managed to accrue 51 quarterback pressures in 2018, which ranked within the top-10 among defensive tackles in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.
Now the Eagles are getting a promising presence on a much more friendly deal. While billed as an interior presence, Jackson’s versatility offers the opportunity for the Eagles to play him on the edge in certain packages.
It is much-needed insurance considering Philadelphia’s defensive line is about to be gutted. After trading Michael Bennett to the New England Patriots, the Eagles are expected to lose Haloti Ngata to free agency while declining the $13 million option on Timmy Jernigan.
All three played sizable roles in an Eagles unit that ranked 10th in the NFL with 44 sacks while the rushing defense allowed the seventh-fewest rushing yards with 1,551.