Denver Broncos possible remaining 2021 cap casualties
2. Kareem Jackson, DB
2021 salary cap number: ~$12.9 million
2021 dead cap figure (if released): ~2.9 million
2021 cap savings (if released): $10 million
In two seasons with the Denver Broncos and Vic Fangio, Kareem Jackson has made the full-time transition to the safety position look easy.
Jackson has been a vicious hitter in the Denver secondary and has proven to be a very nice signing from the free agent class of 2019.
In his first two seasons in orange and blue, Jackson has racked up 160 total tackles, five tackles for loss, three interceptions, 14 pass breakups, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and a defensive touchdown on the road against his former team the Houston Texans.
Jackson also played 100 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in 2020, proving what kind of value he brings to the table as an every-down player. At the age of 32 (33 in April) Jackson doesn’t appear to have lost a step and is playing at a high level.
With the safety class both in free agency and in the 2021 NFL Draft, are the Broncos willing to let the 32-year-old Jackson count nearly $13 million against their salary cap with the potential of $10 million in savings?
This is yet another tough call. Jackson was given roughly $9 million in signing bonuses and $14 million in guaranteed salaries from 2019-20, so his guaranteed cash is in the rearview at this point.
Would Jackson be willing to re-up with the Broncos for another two seasons to get some more cash in his pocket and lower that 2021 cap hit?
Unlike AJ Bouye, Jackson has proven his value to the Denver Broncos on the field. Still, in his age 33 season, Jackson is poised to have the second-highest cap hit in the NFL among strong safeties and his cap figure of just under $13 million would put him as the 6th-highest safety in AAV overall.
You would hate to see the Broncos make a cap cut with a player who has been as good as Jackson, especially given the team’s lack of depth at safety right now.
My guess is the Broncos will approach Jackson about a restructure and use the depth at safety in this year’s free agency class and 2021 NFL Draft as leverage.
If Jackson isn’t willing to restructure, he could very well be cut.