Former Cleveland Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson agreed to a contract worth $22 million with the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday. The deal is for four-years and the contract reportedly includes $11 million guaranteed.
The Browns cut ties with Jackson, who was due a $4.1 million roster bonus this month, after he led the team with 139 tackles in 2013. The 30-year-old Jackson has made 96 starts in eight seasons and became a hot commodity after hitting the open market, making visits to several teams in the days after he was released.
“The Mad Tweeter”, Colts owner Jim Irsay, broke the news and welcomed D’Qwell Jackson to the team in a tweet Thursday morning…
Welcome to the Colts, D'Qwell!
— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) March 6, 2014
In Indianapolis, Jackson will be reunited with former Browns coach Rob Chudzinski, who was hired by Indianapolis to assist coach Chuck Pagano after being fired by Cleveland after just one season at the helm.
IDP Perspective: D’Qwell Jackson could wrestle the lead in snaps from Jerrell Freeman but the lead in tackles is still more likely going to be Freeman. Jackson’s presence should also allow Freeman more opportunities as a pass rusher as well as placing Jackson out in coverage more often than not. It is Indianapolis’ hope that the combo of Freeman/Jackson will be the Colts’ lesser version of San Francisco’s Navorro Bowman & Pat Willis, with both players retaining IDP relevance and the safe money being on Jerrell Freeman performing like a low end #1 / high end #2 linebacker in 2014.
No defensive back played more snaps for Buffalo than Aaron Williams did last season and the Bills decided to ensure that Williams will play his next few years in western New York. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com is reporting that the deal is a four-year contract worth $26 million, with another $1.25 million in incentives.
Williams not only posted 82 combined tackles, a forced fumble and 4 interceptions last year but he also gives Buffalo some leverage in talks with Jairus Byrd after how well Williams was able to play in his absence last year. Byrd reportedly turned down a substantial offer two weeks ago and could be all but gone after the penning of this Williams’ contract.
Byrd may or may not be back in Buffalo but the bottom line remains and that is that Williams was easily a #2 defensive back in fantasy last year, meaning he needs to be in your IDP queue when you’re looking at a second safety or back in your leagues.
The sacred cow remains holy in the burgh, as veteran safety Troy Polamalu has signed a three year contract with the Steelers in a cap-friendly deal that will allow Pittsburgh to shave off some of the $10.8 million the safety was due in 2014.
The Pittsburgh brass and their general manager Kevin Colbert want Troy Polamalu to retire a Steeler and it appears that may come to fruition at some point during the life of this contract. He had resurgent season last year with 69 total tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions and 5 forced fumbles as a 32 year old player.
His days of playing as an elite defense back in IDP are over but he is serviceable as a depth player or #3 option in deeper leagues. The move not only keeps Troy Polamalu fantasy relevant but also should help second year player Shamarko Thomas’ progression, as the Syracuse product will battle Will Allen for the rights to start next to Polamalu in 2014. If Thomas performs well in pre-season and camp, he could factor in as a late round value in your IDP drafts.
Lofa Tatupu was a Pro Bowl linebacker for the Seahawks from 2005-07, but he missed much of the 2009 season with a torn pectoral muscle and was ineffective in 2010. Then, he had knee surgeries in January 2011, and has not been seen in an NFL uniform since (though he did work out with the Falcons in 2012 before suffering a torn pectoral).
But that apparently doesn’t mean the 31-year-old Tatupu has given up the dream of returning to the NFL. It also means the Broncos aren’t above sniffing around old Pete Carroll retreats.
Carolina and Hardy could still work out a long-term deal before the season but as of this writing, the Panthers will have more than 20% of their cap dedicated to the defensive end position when you include the lofty $16 million Charles Johnson counts against the cap and Hardy’s $13 million.
“The Kraken” led the team in sacks with 15 on the year, giving him 26 in the last two seasons. Anything less than another double digit sack season would be considered a major disappointment from an IDP perspective, as Hardy should perform like an elite number one defensive end in 2014.
FOX Sports’ Alex Marvez reported that the team was planning to put some of the money toward re-signing free agent DE Michael Bennett. Bryant saw his career resurrected under coach Pete Carroll, but played in less than 50% of the defensive snaps in 2013. Bryant became expendable for Seattle sure to the team’s terrific defensive line depth.
Bryant could find a new home before the start of free agency on March 11 but at this stage of his career he is no longer an IDP factor. The Patriots, Raiders and Giants might be potential suitors.
“Feeling blessed! Y’all heard it here first! Deal is done!! SD I aint going no where!! Too excited!!” Butler tweeted.
The Chargers followed up Butler’s tweet with an announcement that it is a multi-year deal but no other terms of the deal have been disclosed.
Butler will join Manti Te’o, Dwight Freeney and Melvin Ingram in the starting lineup and is poised to perform like an absolute #1 linebacker as long he can avoid the injuries that plagued him last season.