The Cleveland Browns defense looks like a future juggernaut, as they have a number of talented players on the defensive side of the ball. Cornerback Joe Haden has been a shutdown CB for a few years running, Tashaun Gipson was a favorite of the coaching staff and has come on strong in his first season as a starter, T.J. Ward is one of the game’s best strong safeties, John Hughes is one of the more underrated players in the game, Paul Kruger and Jabaal Sheard know how to bring the heat, Barkevious Mingo has promise, Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin continue to be solid members of the Browns defensive line, and D’Qwell Jackson is a steady quarterback for this defense.
Ward set to hit free agency, and he has already voiced his desire to remain a part of the Browns organization. Although Jackson isn’t set to hit free agency, he is set to make an awful lot of money next season. With a roster bonus of $4.11 million and a cap hit of $9.43 million, the Browns could decide that the 30-year-old inside linebacker just isn’t worth the price tag. That roster bonus is quite a large lump-sum, and Jackson is definitely a candidate to have his deal restructured. He’s still a good player and an important leader on the defense, but he isn’t getting younger and isn’t worth that kind of money going forward.
That said, Jackson isn’t worried at all about a possible release. According to May Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jackson would be shocked if the Browns decided to part ways with him. He also said this, “It’s going to be hard to go somewhere else and play. I know it’s the nature of the business, things may change and I’m fully aware of that. Right now, I’m a Cleveland Brown through and through.”
Ultimately, I think Jackson will agree to restructure his deal to help the Browns a little bit, and I highly doubt the Browns are willing to cut ties with an integral leader. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton loves him so much that he called him a “locker room coach”, and Jackson is one of the most respected linebackers around the league.