Colts Release Veteran Inside Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson
The Indianapolis Colts announced on Thursday afternoon that the team has released starting inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson.
The 33 year old made 12 starts for the Colts last season, recording 78 tackles and a sack before being suspended the final four games of the regular season for violating the league’s performance enhancing drug policy.
Releasing Jackson is projected to save the Colts in additional $5.5M in cap space, which means that the Colts could have as much as $56M in cap space right now (per OverTheCap.com) heading into free agency and the NFL Draft.
Despite missing four games with a suspension, Jackson finished just second behind starting safety Mike Adams with 78 total tackles this past season.
He had led the Colts in tackles during consecutive seasons from 2014-15.
Since signing a 4-year, $22 million deal in the 2014 offseason, Jackson had consistently been a ‘tackling machine’ for the Colts and a veteran leader for their defense–even making the Pro Bowl with the Colts in 2014.
That being said, the veteran turns 34 years old in September and has shown some obvious signs of decline–having always been much maligned by Colts fans for being slow footed in coverage.
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Pairing the veteran’s diminished play with his recent 4-game PED suspension, and it looks as though new general manager Chris Ballard made his first big move for the Colts–as the team has clearly ‘moved on’ from one of its veteran players.
The Colts collectively as a whole need to get younger, faster, and more athletic on defense, and this appears to be Ballard’s inaugural step in that direction.