Malik Jackson has been on good teams, and he’s made the money.
He’s also 28, and in the NFL that puts him near old-head status, so he understands the business side of the sport.
The Jaguars defensive tackle said he and teammate Calais Campbell know that they have to continue to perform at a high level to continue to justify massive salaries, because that’s just how professional football works.
″It’s one of those things that as players if you think the front office isn’t trying to get rid of you, then you’re crazy,″ Jackson said, via John Reid of the Florida Times-Union. ″It’s their job to get players in here that are cheaper, younger and trying to be better.
″I’m getting older, Calais [Campbell] is getting a little older. We have a lot of money on this D-line.″
Jackson was the beneficiary of the last pre-Tom Coughlin splurge by the Jaguars in 2016, getting a six-year, $85.5 million deal to leave the Super Bowl champion Broncos. Campbell was last year’s jackpot winner, getting a four-year, $60 million deal to come over from Arizona.
That stability up front was a big part of the reason the Jaguars have made big strides lately, but things are always changing. For all the money they’ve spent up front, there are contract talks on the horizon for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (and possibly Dante Fowler, whose 2019 option wasn’t picked up), and money eventually has to come from somewhere.
Which is why Jackson’s ready to work, to make sure it doesn’t come out of his pocket.
″My goal is to keep my job,″ Jackson said. ″If I’m worried about what’s going on in the front office what they’re thinking and doing, I’ll go crazy. I’ll just worry about becoming an All-Pro and getting 10-plus sacks. Those are my goals.″
Seeing the team use a first-round pick on defensive tackle Taven Bryan would have also brought that into focus, as the league’s a constant churn of personnel as teams look for younger (i.e. less expensive) alternatives.