Malik Jackson might be overpaid, but he’s indispensable

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Malik Jackson
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Malik Jackson /

Malik Jackson may never play up to his enormous contract, but his role and playmaking along the defensive line is indispensable.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been one of the highest-spending teams in free agency over the last four years and quite frankly they haven’t done it in the most effective way. Julius Thomas, Davon House, and Zane Beadles represent the worst of the big contracts the Jaguars have handed out in recent years.

Not every contract has been a disaster however, and perhaps the most promising signing so far has been former Denver Bronco and Super Bowl champion Malik Jackson. The star defensive tackle signed an enormous contract last offseason and became one of the highest paid defensive players thanks to the Jaguars.

It’s only been one season, but it’s hard to argue with Jackson’s impact thus far.

Bill Barnwell over at ESPN did what he does best  in a recent article – crunched some numbers. He looked at all contracts in the NFL, calculated the “baseline” three-year contract values, and then ranked the 25 most “outsized” contracts by position. By outsized, Barnwell appears to be calculating contracts that are above market value.

Surprisingly enough, there’s only one Jaguar on the list.

"18. Malik Jackson, DT, JaguarsThree-year compensation: $45 million (35.3 percent over baseline)While unquestionably talented, Jackson is a far less accomplished player than McCoy. Jackson is nearly two years younger, but he had been a starter for only one year in Denver before piecing together a hot playoff run. He has never made a Pro Bowl. McCoy has made five consecutive Pro Bowls, was a first-team All-Pro nod in 2013, and is a better pass-rusher, which teams pay a premium for from interior linemen. But because Jackson hit unrestricted free agency 15 months after McCoy signed his deal, Jackson’s three-year contract is bigger."

Jackson just signed his deal last year, so it isn’t surprising that it’s at the top of the market. A signing next offseason could dwarf his and bring the “outsized” value of his deal down.

Analysis like this needs to be put into context. The Jacksonville Jaguars have oodles of cap space and can afford to spend top dollar on top talent. It’s much smarter to spend more money on players like Malik Jackson and Calais Campbell than it is to target 7 or 8 mid-tier players.

Barnwell certainly isn’t saying Jackson isn’t worth it in his article, but there really isn’t much to glean in terms what this means for the Jaguars and their spending.