One of the biggest items on the Cleveland Browns’ offseason to-do list has been accomplished. The team announced on Monday that it signed linebacker D’Qwell Jackson to a five-year, $42.5 million deal, with $19 million in guarantees and bonuses.
Jackson missed most of 2009 and all of the 2010 season with torn pectoral muscles only to play all 16 games in 2011, registering 158 tackles and 3.5 sacks. His performance last season earned him a spot as a first alternate in the Pro Bowl and second in the voting for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award.
The linebacker had this to say about his new contract:
“It’s definitely a blessing,” an emotional Jackson told members of the media Monday. “As I sit here today, I can remember dating back to over a year ago when I didn’t know whether or not, while I was injured and rehabbing, if I was doing the necessary things to get myself prepared for the upcoming season. When Coach Holmgren and staff gave me the opportunity to come back and play, that’s all I needed. I’ve been through a lot, prepared and am ready to lead this team to a postseason and carry the young guys on this team.” (via ClevelandBrowns.com)
Signing Jackson now frees up the Browns to use the franchise tag on someone else. Kicker Phil Dawson is the likely candidate to receive the tag (again), though there is a very slim chance it could be used on running back Peyton Hillis.