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Broncos, Titans among teams who could be potential fits for Jackson

Cleveland Browns v New York Jets Getty Images

What’s next for D’Qwell Jackson?

A productive starter at middle/inside linebacker for the Browns since entering the NFL in 2006, the 29-year-old Jackson figures to draw interest from other teams after his release from Cleveland on Wednesday.

Let’s take a moment to weigh the factors working in Jackson’s favor — as well as those potentially working against him — as he enters free agency. Also, let’s list a handful of logical potential suitors for the veteran linebacker:

Factors working in Jackson’s favor: He’s played all 16 games in the last three seasons, recording at least 118 tackles in all three campaigns. He has experience in 3-4 and 4-3 fronts. Moreover, he has experience adjusting to new schemes and coaches, given all the turnover he endured in Cleveland, where he played for four different head coaches. What’s more, Cleveland’s consistent organizational churn could help him in free agency, given all of the former Browns staffers working for other clubs. A team captain in Cleveland, Jackson should quickly fit into any defense and locker room he enters.

Factors working against Jackson: He will be 30 in September. Listed at 6-foot and 240 pounds, he could be a touch small for some teams’ tastes. He missed 10 games in 2009 and all of 2010 with pectoral injuries. Teams could be apt to look at younger free agents or to tap into a rich draft class to fill their MLB/ILB needs.

Potential suitors for Jackson: Here’s some preliminary dot connecting regarding potential landing spots for Jackson. A club’s need at inside/middle linebacker, as well as any potential connections Jackson may have with other clubs, were considered:

The top three

1. Denver Broncos. Middle linebackers Wesley Woodyard and Paris Lenon are unrestricted free agents. Broncos director of pro personnel Tom Heckert was the Browns’ G.M. before joining Denver and was part of the Cleveland front office that signed Jackson to his contract extension two years ago. Frankly, this is a fit that makes a lot of sense: Jackson would finally get to play for a winner, and he likely would have a key backer in Heckert.

2. Tennessee Titans. The Browns’ defensive coordinator in 2013, Ray Horton, now holds the same job in Tennessee. The Titans have a need at inside linebacker.

3. Chicago Bears. They could stand to add a middle linebacker. Jackson could help solidify the position in the short term, allowing Chicago to address other positions on the defense.

Other teams considered

In New Orleans, Jackson would be reunited with Rob Ryan, the Browns’ defensive coordinator from 2009-2010.

Minnesota, meanwhile, has something of a need in the middle. The same could be said for Houston (where he would work again with former Browns head coach Romeo Crennel), New England, Baltimore, Washington and Oakland.

Longer shots would be San Francisco and Philadelphia. Former Browns head coach Eric Mangini is now the 49ers’ tight ends coach, while former Browns linebackers coach Billy Davis is the Eagles’ defensive coordinator.

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15 Responses to “Broncos, Titans among teams who could be potential fits for Jackson”
  1. shaggytoodle says: Feb 26, 2014 5:33 PM

    I have been a fan of this cat since he was at Maryland, and unfortunately I haven’t been able to watch him as much because I don’t get to see many Cleveland games.

    I think he may be underrated, because he did play for a team that struggles a lot.

    I would love to see GB add him at LB cause they need depth, and can play different schemes.

  2. mustangseo says: Feb 26, 2014 5:56 PM

    This guy just shut up and played solid football. That’s respectable. Like Phil Dawson, D’Qwell deserves a shot at the playoffs and I hope he gets it.

  3. ytownjoe says: Feb 26, 2014 6:26 PM

    Good Luck D’Qwell. Browns are gonna miss you.

  4. etoharin78 says: Feb 26, 2014 6:36 PM

    I’d love for this guy to end up in Denver

  5. minnesnowda says: Feb 26, 2014 6:54 PM

    Vikings should bring him in, if Audie Cole isn’t ready yet it buys some more time and saves a draft pick. Plus MN has plenty of cap space with over 20 million.

  6. davetexansfan says: Feb 26, 2014 6:56 PM

    Texans texans texans pleaseeeeee

  7. chargersdiehard says: Feb 26, 2014 7:00 PM

    Yes Denver does indeed like their players over 30 on defense.

  8. rawdiggah007 says: Feb 26, 2014 7:43 PM

    Washington could really use him.

  9. vbbills says: Feb 26, 2014 8:06 PM

    Come to Buffalo!

  10. revren10 says: Feb 26, 2014 8:31 PM

    New England would be happy to have a short linebacker to go along with our midget slot receivers

  11. oldcracker says: Feb 26, 2014 8:31 PM

    He will be an asset wherever he lands.

  12. taylormade311 says: Feb 26, 2014 9:49 PM

    Titans

  13. sublime313 says: Feb 27, 2014 2:19 PM

    You’re always welcomed in Chicago!

  14. nowillrepeat says: Feb 27, 2014 2:36 PM

    Come to the Saints. We are God’s army and team.

  15. mkar1835 says: Feb 27, 2014 7:31 PM

    He’s a bottom third ILB according to his grades on ProFootball Focus. Bad against the pass — horrible against the run.

    Great guy — great with the media — pretty bad on the field.

    Good move by Browns.

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