The Denver Broncos have re-signed safety Kareem Jackson to a one-year contract, according to Mike Klis of 9News.
Jackson has been an integral piece of the Broncos’ defense over the past few years. He has started a total of 44 games over the past three seasons. In 2021, Jackson led the Broncos in combined tackles (88) and solo tackles (62).
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Broncos held off a push from the Pittsburgh Steelers to sign Jackson as a complementary piece opposite star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
The Broncos had a clear void at strong safety with Caden Sterns, P.J. Locke, Jamar Johnson, and J.R. Reed as the options left on the roster. Locke played only 27 defensive snaps last season, while Johnson is a better fit at free safety or cornerback.
This signing makes a lot of sense for the Broncos. Following the acquisition of Russell Wilson, the team is in win-now mode.
Jackson was one of the best options available. According to Pro Football Focus, Jackson was the second-best safety remaining on the free-agent market trailing only Tyrann Mathieu.
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The Broncos Have a Lot of Depth at Safety
Following the addition of Jackson, the Broncos suddenly have a lot of depth at the safety position. Justin Simmons and Jackson are, obviously, locked in as the starters.
Behind Simmons and Jackson are Sterns, Johnson, Locke, and Reed. Although those four players are inexperienced, they all have upside.
Sterns and Johnson were both selected in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Sterns appeared in 15 games last season playing a limited role. He recorded two interceptions and two sacks.
Meanwhile, it came as a surprise that Johnson was still on the board in the fifth round. Many draft experts projected him to be a Day 2 pick.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein projected Johnson to be a third-round pick citing his versatility.
Ascending defensive back offering coverage and positional versatility for today’s brand of NFL football. Johnson offers enough field fluidity to cover the slot and showed off impressive instincts and ball skills to excite teams about his potential as a high safety. His combination of vision, field awareness and instincts usually have him in the right place at the right time. Johnson is willing as a tackler, but needs to clean up his technique and approach to bolster his run support for the next level. His high football IQ should aid his transition to pro football as a future starter with a strong upside.
Johnson scarcely saw the field last season playing exclusively on special teams, but at 22 years old, he is still an intriguing prospect. Hopefully, he can play some defensive snaps this season.
Broncos Appear to Be Out on Tyrann Mathieu
The Broncos have been a rumored destination for free agent safety Tyrann Mathieu. On March 31, Boardroom’s Jordan Schultz listed the Broncos as one of the teams interested in Mathieu.
However, KOA Colorado’s Benjamin Allbright reported later on the same day that the Broncos are not in on Mathieu.
The signing of Jackson seemingly rules out the Broncos in the race for Mathieu.