Jacksonville Jaguars' Malik Jackson sees responsibility with massive pay day

By The Sports Xchange
Former Denver Broncos lineman Malik Jackson. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Former Denver Broncos lineman Malik Jackson. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

JACKSONVILLE -- So how much will an $85.5 million contract change someone?

In Jacksonville defensive tackle Malik Jackson, not much. That's what Jackson says.


He signed with the Jaguars on March 9 as a free agent out of Denver, inking his name to a contract that guaranteed him $42 million. That alone is enough money to make a lot of guys take the low road and put their motor on cruise control for the rest of their career.

Jackson's not that way. He sees the contract as a means where he needs, where he demands, to become a team leader.

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"It's definitely a change a little bit but at the same time, it's fun," Jackson said. "Everybody's cool, and they know I'm cool. I'm not out here being somebody's dad but as far as what I learn from them, how to play the game and how to be cerebral and how to look at things. I'm just teaching them and they're all taking it in so it's going well."


Nobody could accuse the fifth-year pro of dogging it or taking it easy in the Jaguars' first week of OTAs last week. Jackson was running full tilt, encouraging others, teaching others. He wants to lead by example and his performance in his first effort on the field for the Jaguars was an indication of such.

The 26-year-old tackle already owns a Super Bowl ring. But he's not about to sit on those laurels. He sees the potential in Jacksonville, it's one of the reasons why he made the jump from the Broncos, a perennial contender, to the Jaguars who have won but 12 games over the last three years.

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"Denver was running. I like the tempo here because that's what I'm used to," Jackson said. "I'm used to going fast and used to running to the ball - always three step bursts. We say during the week, it's just like the game on Sunday. The tempo is always the same. To me, it's the same. We're out here going fast, working hard and I like it."

And what about that big contract? Does he feel any added pressure because of it?

"Not really," the 6-foot-5, 293-pounder said. "I saw D-Ware (Demarcus Ware) was in my locker room last year. Von Miller was in my locker room like that. I had guys like Elvis (Dumervil). I've been around guys, Peyton Manning. I've been around guys who've had big deals and I see how they work so that kind of got me ready and prepared me for what I'm doing. There's a large possibility you have a lot of guys looking at you to see what you're doing on and off the field. You've just got to be on your Ps and Qs and just be yourself but know you've got people looking at you."


Jackson has already emerged as leader off the field, in the community, making it clear he wants to become involved in the team's charitable events. A week ago, he joined Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley in an event in which he helped award a family of five boys ages 5 to 12 each with their own bed. Previously they had been living in a house where the five boys shared one bed.

"It's huge because (the community) see us and we want to be able to kind of make it personable and not just fans sitting in the seats and seeing us on the field," he said. "To go to somebody's house and help them out when they're a little hard on the situation, it's nice. We gave them (some) beds. To us, it's just a bed but to them, it's probably the world. It's nice to give back."

It's an example in which Bradley says that shows Jackson's emotional side, both on and off the field.

"I don't see (any dip in motivation)," Bradley said. "I don't see that in any part of him. So that's cool. We just spent some time together doing a charity function and I just don't see it.


"He's a guy that has higher aspirations for what he wants to do for this team and individually, so that's great."

Bradley's defense is designed to allow the three-technique tackle to consistently be in a position of applying pressure to the quarterback. That's what Jackson excels at. A year ago with the Broncos, he recorded five sacks and had seven pass breakups as an interior pass rusher.

It gives the Jaguars a solid 1-2 punch at that position with Sen'Derrick Marks. In 2014, Marks led the team with 8.5 sacks. He was limited to four games a year ago as he recuperated from surgery for a torn ACL suffered in the 2014 season finale.

"It's pretty nice. You've got to do a lot," he said about his new position. "It's the things he allows you to do, you just can't get reached (reach-blocked). Just go out there, get off the ball and get pressure on the quarterback."

Jackson said he's looking forward to playing with the Jaguars' new pass-rushing defensive end, Dante Fowler, Jr. Fowler was the team's No. 1 pick in the 2015 college draft, but he missed the entire season when he tore his ACL in his first offseason practice with the team. He's healthy now and is slated to line up at the end spot adjacent to Jackson to give the Jaguars two talented pass rushers on that side.


"I'm excited. Dante's been working really well," Jackson said. "Me, J.O. (Jared Odrick) in there - we've been working really good together. We've just got to keep grinding and like I said, stay healthy and keep learning each other, keep getting signals down and just learn how to be more cerebral guys and not just go out there and run straight."

The Jaguars are confident that with a healthy Fowler and the addition of Jackson, they'll be able to improve on their 36 sacks from a year ago and their 23rd team-ranking on sacks per pass play.

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