Although the negotiation period for free agency does not start until noon Eastern today, the Green Bay Packers are in the news for an interesting rumor. The assumed needs for this team are pass rush off the edge and safety, but the team is apparently looking into defensive linemen for Mike Pettine’s unit as well.
While interest has remained strong between the Packers and Muhammad Wilkerson about a reunion for 2019, the team may be looking elsewhere for help as well. According to Pro Football Talk, the Packers are one of two teams in the running to sign defensive lineman Malik Jackson, who was recently released by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Because Jackson was cut instead of having an expiring contract, he is free to negotiate and sign a deal before free agency officially begins.
Jackson started his career as a fifth-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos, and he provided an excellent interior pass rush there for four seasons. Once cracking the rotation in 2013, he recorded six, three, and five-and-a-half sacks in the succeeding three years, and he was a disruptive player as the Broncos won the Super Bowl following the 2015 season.
That offseason, Jackson signed a huge contract with the Jaguars, getting six years and $85 million with $31.5 million guaranteed. However, he played just three years under that deal before being released last Friday. In those three seasons with Jacksonville, Jackson did not miss a game, and he recorded 18 sacks with four forced fumbles. He also made a Pro Bowl in 2017, when he had eight sacks.
With Jackson suddenly on and now off the Packers’ radar, look for the team to continue their conversations with Muhammad Wilkerson about a return in 2019.