INDIANAPOLIS – We all figured that when Indianapolis Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson was hit with a four game suspension for the final four games of the season in 2016 for PED use, that the starting linebacker for the team since 2014 would likely have played his final down as a member of the team. Jackson, 33, saw his stats take a tumble and he was slated to make $5.5-million for the 2017 season. That pay included a $500k roster bonus as long as he was on the books on March 14.
Well, the Colts made sure he was off the book well over a month prior to that deadline. On Thursday, the Colts announced that they’ve cut ties with the 11-year NFL veteran making him a free agent. The move was the first of what likely will be many to come by new general manager Chris Ballard.
Jackson, had 824 of his 1,190 career tackles in the NFL during his tenure with the Cleveland Browns. He was considered one of the most underrated linebackers in the game during his time in Cleveland. So, when the Colts took him on for the 2014 season, it was supposed to give them an added boost.
It did so too.
Jackson, who had never made the playoffs in his first eight years in the league, won the AFC South division title and made it to the AFC Championship Game in his first season with the Colts. He had 138 tackles and four sacks that season.
The next year, Jackson had an even more presence leading the team with 150 tackles and adding three more sacks. Unforutnately though, father time was catching up to him as he got slower and his play was taking a step back instead of forward. He had 78 tackles in 12 games played in 2016, which showed his best years were behind him. That’s likely where the PEDs came into play to help keep him with an advantage, but he got caught.
Outside of the four game suspension, Jackson never missed any other time with the Colts as he was a dependable player. Now, the Colts are going to go younger and this is the first move in that transition.