Jason Fitzgerald Projects Big Paydays For Derek Wolfe & Malik Jackson

As part of OTC’s ongoing 2016 Free Agency Preview series:

The Broncos may make a big push before free agency to lock [Malik Jackson] up before having to turn their attention to Von Miller. It actually may benefit the Broncos to use up some cap room on Jackson to try to show a more limited pool of money when dealing with Miller. If Jackson hits free agency expect the teams that miss out on Wilkerson or don’t want to spend top tier money on a 34 end to be very active in acquiring Jackson.

Projected Value: 5 years, $36-$40 million


If the Broncos don’t see any positive signs with Jackson they will quickly turn their attention to [Derek] Wolfe. It’s possible they may prefer Wolfe if they had to choose one or the other though Jackson is probably the more expensive player with a bit more upside. If the Broncos don’t push to re-sign him, he should find a pretty robust market as he should be about as sure a bet as there is in free agency to fill a specific role as good as anyone else in the league. If Denver lets him go I would not be surprised if he lands with the Chargers.

Projected Value: 5 years, $33-$37 million

These projected deals fit well in line with the current gap between the first and second tier of 3-4 defensive linemen (excepting that JJ Watt is in his own world).

My own take on how to deal with Wolfe and Jackson remains simple, and unchanged from the beginning of this season: whoever takes the more team-friendly deal first stays, and the other one walks. It will be very difficult for the Broncos to keep both of them while at the same time retaining Von Miller, Brock Osweiler, and their wide array of RFAs and ERFAs.