Free agent linebacker D'Qwell Jackson took his third visit Tuesday, meeting with the Miami Dolphins, and he has one more visit planned before making a decision. Jackson will visit the Indianapolis Colts next, and is then expected to choose between Miami, Indianapolis, Denver and Tennessee, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Jackson, who was released by the Cleveland Browns last week, already took visits to Denver and Tennessee.
The 30-year-old has been productive throughout his career, including last season when he racked up 141 tackles. With his consistent level of production and ability against the run, Jackson could be an ideal option for a team looking to plug in a starter at middle linebacker. If the Miami Herald report is true, Jackson will remain in the AFC. Let's take a look at how he would fit with each potential suitor.
The interest from Miami is somewhat odd, considering the dollars that the Dolphins have spent on linebackers in recent offseasons. That includes last year when Miami released former high-priced free agent Karlos Dansby and gave Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler lucrative deals. With Jackson in the mix, either Wheeler or Ellerbe could find themselves back on the market. There is a new front office in Miami, and Jackson could help the Dolphins move past some of the mistakes made by the previous regime.
The Colts have seemingly been in search for a middle linebacker since Gary Brackett left town. Pat Angerer is a free agent and Jackson would be an upgrade at one of the inside spots. He could combine with Jerrell Freeman to give the Colts a decent one-two punch in the middle.
Wesley Woodyard is a pending free agent and wasn't great against the run last season. Jackson isn't the player he once was, but he may still be an upgrade over Woodyard, especially as a run defender. At 30, Jackson is unlikely to receive a long-term deal and could be cheaper than Woodyard or other free agent middle linebackers. The idea of playing for the reigning AFC Champions and chasing a Super Bowl could be appealing to Jackson, who experienced just one winning season in Cleveland.
The Titans are in desperate need of an upgrade at middle linebacker. Moise Fokou started 12 games in the middle last season, but finished with a minus-20.0 grade from Pro Football Focus. That was the third-worst grade among inside linebackers in the NFL. Jackson would provide a veteran presence and a temporary stop-gap while the Titans build their linebacking corps around Akeem Ayers.
Jackson may make a decision sooner rather than later with a visit with the Colts scheduled for Wednesday, according to the Indianapolis Star. Since he was released, Jackson is free to sign before free agency begins, allowing him to secure a job before the market is flooded.