2015 Steelers Free Agency Tracker: Kareem Jackson


The Steelers desperately need help with their secondary. That kind of help will only come with a strong offseason of draft selections and free agency pickups.

We previously profiled Buffalo Bills free agent safety Da’Norris Searcy as one to watch this offseason. The Steelers could dump the highly underperforming Mike Mitchell from his five year deal and sign someone who’s had more production and not just a one year wonder.

Cornerbacks are the likelier choice when it comes to signing any significant names to the secondary roster. Someone like Houston Texans free agent Kareem Jackson could and should be someone that Steeler Nation follows once Free Agency opens up in March.

Sticking with the youth movement here, Jackson is young (27 in April), possesses good speed, has a strong tendency to lock down receivers, and uses good tackling techniques. He doesn’t have much in the way of sacks and QB hurries/hits. His job is to take on the top rated WR and shut him down. He’s the highest rated free agent corner on PFF and is much improved from an up and down 2013 campaign that was curtailed with an injury keeping him out for three weeks.

He’s struggled in the past with some of the more athletic receivers who display agility, such as Antonio Brown. When the Texans came to Pittsburgh in 2014, Jackson struggled to stay with Brown defending zero passes and allowing Brown to catch nine passes for 90 yards.

The Texans don’t have too many high profiled players that need re-signing, but Jackson is probably their biggest one. That usually spells trouble for a team that is battling with managing salary cap room. The projected cap for the Texans in 2015 is $134 million and the projected cap for the league is $140 (can be higher or lower at this point).

That doesn’t give them much room to work with, and they need more help in free agency to pick up some help at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and depth with the defensive line.

That kind of “busy” offseason could mean that Jackson won’t fit in their salary cap model depending on the asking price.  Jackson will probably go to the tune of $6-7 million a year (or a bit more). Would the Steelers be willing to pay that price?

The Steelers are in surprisingly good shape heading into managing the salary cap in 2015, and they might be able to dump enough of the “older” players’ contracts and re-sign Ben Roethlisberger to a new contract that lowers his 2015 cap hit.

Keep a close eye on Jackson. He could fall out of Texas since he is an unrestricted free agent, and will want to go to a team with a good offer and a team who needs a #1 corner.

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