Super Bowl winners tend to lose a number of their stars to “greener” pastures, just as the defending champion Denver Broncos did with defensive tackle Malik Jackson and linebacker Danny Trevathan, both of whom became free agents this past offseason and signed lucrative contracts with other teams. (Quarterback Brock Osweiler got paid too, mainly by association, and his struggles in Houston have been well-documented.)
Trevathan inked a four-year, $24 million deal with $12M guaranteed from the Chicago Bears while the run-stuffing Jackson signed a robust six-year, $85.5 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars with $42 million guaranteed. No one will shed a tear for players raking in that kind of bank but life is certainly different for players competing on dreadful 2-9 teams (both Chicago and Jacksonville right now) than it was for the eventual Super Bowl champion Broncos, currently 7-4 and in the thick of the playoff hunt.
“It’s definitely tough, especially coming from Denver, being spoiled with the playoffs every year and a first-round bye,” Jackson said on Wednesday, via the Denver Post. “It’s kind of sobering because you realize every team isn’t winning 12 games a year. It brought me back down to Earth.”
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This week, Jackson will get to see his former teammates when the Broncos visit the Jaguars.
The Broncos certainly miss Jackson too, by the way. Without Jackson and Trevathan, run defense has proven a major problem this season for Denver, which has allowed 1,320 rushing yards (120 per game), sixth-worst in the league.
While the Jaguars have already assured a losing season, the 6-foot-5, 300-pounder still wants to settle a score with Denver and make them regret letting him walk.
“That’s the biggest thing I have to battle with, proving that I’m worth more than what they offered me and they shouldn’t have let me go,” Jackson said. “That’s my whole premise going out there and letting them know I’m a problem and you let this problem go so now you have to deal with me.”