The Philadelphia Eagles are seeking a return on the Malik Jackson investment.
The Philadelphia Eagles signed Malik Jackson to a three-year, $30 million deal on March 11th of 2019. He and DeSean Jackson were the crown jewels of Philly’s free-agent class last season, bringing with them expectations for big things. Then, they both got hurt during the first two weeks of the season, and that was that.
“D-Jax”, at least, chipped in with a couple of touchdowns last season. The other Jackson, the one that plays on defense, never got going thanks to a Lisfranc injury he sustained in Week 1. The “Birds” won the game, but even though Jackson limped off of the field twice in the campaign, their additions didn’t lead to much in 2019.
So why did the Philadelphia Eagles signed Malik Jackson, to begin with?
When the Eagles gave Jackson his contract last season, they were thinking that they were getting the player they saw wreak havoc for the Denver Broncos in 2015. That year (a contract year for Jackson), he had seven sacks, eight additional quarterback hits, and 45 hurries. In the championship game against the Carolina Panthers, he had five combined tackles and recovered a key fumble that would lead to a touchdown.
Later with the Jacksonville Jaguars, he was equally as productive. In his three-year tenure in Duval County, Jackson started 42 games, raked in 14.5 sacks, 44 quarterback hits, 15 pass breakups, and 133 hurries. If the Jaguars parted ways with Jackson, it wasn’t because of poor performance, but rather because they couldn’t make it work financially.
After being released by Jacksonville, the Eagles surely felt they were getting Jackson at a bargain. One year later, they are still waiting on the veteran to have the kind of impact he had for the Broncos during their Super Bowl runs. The “Birds” will probably keep him around because cutting him would have financial ramifications, possibly $16.25 million in dead money. Clearly, that makes his release cost-prohibitive.
Malik Jackson’s road to the Philadelphia Eagles starting lineup will be rocky
Malik Jackson’s spot on the final 53-man roster is certain but newly added Javon Hargrave figures to start. Fletcher Cox is firmly cemented in the spot next to Hargrave, and that gives the Eagles a formidable rotation.
Having said that, Jackson can still make an impact with one caveat. Rarely does a defensive tackle play more than 80 percent of a team’s total snaps. Most of the time, the big men on the trenches play around 50 to 60 percent of the possible snaps. Cox played on a little over 78 percent of the defensive snaps, which is a lot (the second-highest percentage on the defensive line’s interior was a 26 percent total Timmy Jernigan chipped in with).
Timmy is gone now, and last year, at times, Cox looked like he needed a break. This rotation should be something to see and they should help that once they get their chemistry down. If Jackson can make the most out of his on-field time, he’ll make it hard for the Eagles to part ways with him, and he’ll help both Cox and Hargrave to form what might be the most feared trio of defensive tackles in the entire NFL.