INDIANAPOLIS — With the National Football League’s veteran free agency period set to start on March 11, the Indianapolis Colts front office has started to make the decisions needed to retool for the 2014 season.
Former Cleveland Browns inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who had been released by Cleveland on Feb. 26, signed a reported four-year, $22 million deal with Indianapolis on Thursday. Only the first two years of the contract are guaranteed.
Jackson (6-0, 240) started 96 of 97 games over the past eight seasons with the Browns since being selected by the team in the second round of the 2006 draft. He played collegiately at Maryland.
“We are pleased to announce the signing of inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson,” Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said in a prepared statement. “He is a team-first guy that has been a very consistent producer on the field.
“The tempo, energy and determination he plays with are right up there with the best in this league. He brings a welcomed element of experience and natural leadership to our team and we are excited to add him to the strong nucleus of linebackers we currently have on our roster.”
Jackson had 891 career tackles (566 solo), 11.5 sacks, 28 passes broken up, eight interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, seven fumble recoveries and five forced fumbles while playing for Cleveland. He posted six 100-tackle seasons, while leading the team on five occasions (2007-08, 2011-13).
With his addition to the Colts roster, there are now three former Browns with the team — Jackson, running back Trent Richardson and ex-Cleveland head coach Rob Chudzinski. Chudzinski, who was with the Browns for the 2013 season, will be a special assistant to Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano.
Jackson, who also drew interest from Tennessee and Miami, said coming to Indianapolis was a no-brainer.
“I think it’s fairly obvious. The last few years this team has been productive, and everything that’s happened within this organization, I think if you’re a fan of this game, everyone paid attention to it,” he explained during a Thursday afternoon teleconference.