Pro Bowl Offensive Lineman ‘Not Close’ To Deal, Should Reach Free Agency

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The Detroit Lions had one of the best offensive lines in the league last year, but a key player might not come back in 2024. Former third-round pick Jonah Jackson is currently set to hit free agency, and the one-time Pro Bowler isn’t likely to get a last-second contract.

Jonah Jackson originally joined the Lions as a third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and immediately earned a starting spot. The Ohio State product made it to the Pro Bowl in 2021 and has been a steady presence on one of the better offensive lines in the game. Players like this always earn a decent payday, but Jonah Jackson might have to follow the money in free agency.

This report comes from Pro Football Network‘s Adam Caplan. In a recent article, Caplan noted that the two sides were “not close” on an extension at this point last year, and while Detroit will try to sign Jonah Jackson before the start of free agency, it’s anything but a given.

Jonah Jackson “Not Close” To Deal With Lions, Should Reach Free Agency

The Lions face a difficult decision on what to do with Jonah Jackson in free agency. On the one hand, the former third-round pick is a solid starter and Detroit has no clear heir to his throne. With over $52.8 million in cap space, the team has the short-term financial resources to sign him to a new deal.

However, that cap space is going to go away quickly. Several core players are due for extensions, including Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Penei Sewell. With big money already invested in Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow, can this team justify handing out a big contract to Jonah Jackson in free agency?

Only time will tell for sure, but there is a real chance that Jonah Jackson will leave for greener pastures in free agency. Good offensive linemen are hard to come back, and while the Lions have the luxury to let him walk, other teams will probably fight for the opportunity to sign Jackson.

Possible Team Fits

Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers have a lot of work to do in free agency, and one of their first steps could be signing Jonah Jackson. Carolina has arguably the worst interior offensive line in the game, and Jackson would immediately be the best guard on the roster. With Ikem Ekwonu and Taylor Moton providing adequate protection at the tackle positions, Bryce Young shouldn’t be buried milliseconds after the snap. Now, they just need to find someone to catch the ball.

New York Jets

Aaron Rodgers is coming back in 2024, but if they want him to survive the season, they’ll need to sign someone like Jonah Jackson in free agency. New York’s offensive line is one big turnstile, as just about on the roster is either constantly battling injury or a below-average starter. Jackson will provide some much-needed stability along the offensive line, which Rodgers will need as he works his way back from his Achilles injury.

Washington Commanders

The Commanders will have a new quarterback next year, but that player won’t survive if Washington doesn’t improve the offensive line. Sam Howell took a serious amount of punishment last year, and while some of those sacks were self-inflicted, a good chunk was due to terrible protection. The Commanders have the most cap space in the league, so they should be able to sign Jonah Jackson in free agency and still grab other starting-caliber players.

New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints always find a way to make the money work, and they’ll be extra motivated to do that in 2024. Head coach Dennis Allen will probably be out of a job if the team doesn’t make the playoffs, so they’ll find a way to get Jonah Jackson in free agency if they want him. The Saints have a subpar interior offensive line, and quarterback Derek Carr is highly susceptible to pressure. If the Saints improve their offensive line, then Carr should be able to drive this team to the postseason.

New York Giants

Andrew Thomas is a great left tackle. The other four positions need dramatic improvement. Daniel Jones will be back for at least one more season, and he has yet to play behind a reliable offensive line. Signing Jonah Jackson in free agency is the first step in determining if the 2022 version of Daniel Jones can show up again, or if that was just a fluke season.

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