Broncos have agreed in principle on a deal to bring back safety Kareem Jackson

Teammates 'ecstatic' safety is returning
Kareem Jackson
Posted at 8:23 PM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 22:23:11-04

DENVER -- KJax is back.

Or will be soon. According to a source, former Broncos safety Kareem Jackson will become a current Broncos safety when he signs a one-year deal. The Broncos released the veteran last week in a cost-cutting measure after declining his contract option, but Jackson told Denver7 the "door was not entirely closed" on returning.

Tuesday, the sides agreed to a new one year, $5 million contract, half his original $10 million salary, but it will keep the veteran in the fold.

Teammates reacted quickly to the news, overjoyed with the 32-year-old returning to a secondary that inspires confidence and fear.

"Ecstatic," Dre'Mont Jones told Denver7. "He's a great leader. A great guy. I love that he's coming back."

Added defensive end Shelby Harris. "I love it man, one of the heartbeats of the team. Happy to have my guy back."

Signed two years ago as a free agent, Jackson lived up to expectations, forming a dynamic tandem with Pro Bowl free safety Justin Simmons. While Simmons roamed center field like Byron Buxton, Jackson provided pop, lighting up receivers like the Las Vegas strip. Jackson became a favorite of the coaching staff because of work ethic and impressive IQ. His contract, not his play, led the Broncos to part ways temporarily.

With Jackson back, the Broncos feature their best secondary since the 2015 No Fly Zone of Chris Harris, Aqib Talib, Bradley Roby, Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward. That group paired pressure with coverage like no other in Broncos history. The Super Bowl 50 trophy has their fingerprints all over it. The revamped secondary suggests the Broncos will improve in takeaways after totaling 33 in coach Vic Fangio's first two seasons (Fangio's 2018 Bears led the league with 36).

The group features outside corners Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller -- both signed this offseason -- slot Bryce Callahan and Jackson and Simmons.

Jackson delivered 89 tackles last season and 2019 practically won games by himself with breathtaking road performances vs. the Chargers and Texans (Hint: YouTube his hit on DeAndre Hopkins).

General manager George Paton was rewarded for patience in free agency. He landed Fuller after the Bears cut him, and brought Jackson back at a lower rate that leaves room to possibly add a veteran quarterback, inside linebacker or defensive line depth if he chooses.

In two years in Denver, Jackson formed tight bonds with teammates. He does a weekly interview show on the Broncos website, was a guiding force in social justice causes -- he helped organized the downtown march last summer -- and brings palpable energy.

"One of my favorite guys on the team man. That’s big bro, 100%. He is a BEAST," left guard Dalton Risner texted Denver7. " J Sims and Reem boi in the secondary is scary."