For the Denver Broncos, free agency will begin a little more than a week early.
Not unexpectedly, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson didn’t have to wait long for a call–or seven–after being somewhat surprisingly cut by the Cleveland Browns earlier in the week.
Now, he begins his free agency tour, and number two on the list are–you guessed it–the Denver Broncos.
We mentioned on Wednesday that Jackson would be a great fit with the Broncos, and they obviously felt the same. Enough to be one of the first teams to come calling.
This news was first reported by CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, who also reported that Jackson is drawing interest from a number of teams, including the Tennessee Titans, the first team on Jackson’s visit tour.
A lot of the time, the first place a free agent visits is the place he ends up signing, but according to other media reports, Jackson has five visits lined up. It’s possible that he’s going to get an offer from the Titans, and take that offer to some of the other visits to see what he can get.
Jackson is going to be 31 in September, so he’s not exactly out of time to win a title but the time to act is certainly now. This isn’t the first time his name has been connected with the Broncos but it’s the first time they’ve really had a legitimate shot at him.
The biggest connection the Broncos have with Jackson is Tom Heckert, one of the guys responsible for signing Jackson to a five-year, $42.5 million extension back in 2012 before joining the Broncos in 2013.
2012 seems like a long time ago, but less than two years after signing a pretty sizable contract extension, Jackson finds himself back on the market.
The biggest connection he has in Tennessee is defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who was Cleveland’s defensive coordinator in 2013. Horton had some glowing reviews of Jackson per Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
“D’Qwell has been a coach’s dream as far as leadership, intelligence,” Horton said. “He demands a lot from himself and his teammates. He really is a locker room coach [with] some of the things he says after the game and at halftime.”
The biggest question for Jackson is whether or not he’s going to want to be part of a rebuilding project or part of a team that can go to the Super Bowl next year. The Titans are certainly a solid ball club, but they aren’t that close to Super Bowl contention, finishing 2nd in the AFC South last year at 7-9. Jackson has had enough of that in his career.
Hopefully he doesn’t just settle for the first deal he’s offered, and waits to hear the Broncos out. According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, he is scheduled to visit Tennessee on Saturday and Denver on Monday.