Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson wrote a cryptic message on his social media that hinted his time with the team could be over.
The Chicago Bears are a team in transition. After general manager Ryan Poles took over in 2022, he tore the roster down. He then signed subpar players, players who were castoffs from other teams. That resulted in a 3-14 team, losers of their final 10 games.
The team improved in 2023 to seven wins. However, it was noticeable that there was still work to be done. That takes us to this offseason. It is Year 3 of the Chicago Bears’ latest rebuild. Now it is time for the team to at least compete for a playoff spot. For that to happen, tough decisions have to be made.
It appears that Poles made a decision on a popular player.
Safety Eddie Jackson has been a stalwart on the Chicago Bears’ defense. The team took a chance on Jackson in the 2017 NFL Draft. After suffering a knee injury in 2015, he fractured his leg in 2016. That ended his season and threatened his future in the NFL.
Jackson, who had a first-round grade from scouts, ended up dropping to the fourth round. Teams were scared away by his injury history. Their loss became the Chicago Bears’ gain. Chicago selected him with the 112th pick. He has handsomely rewarded the team since.
Jackson’s first three seasons were better than anyone could imagine, even if he had been drafted in the first round. He became the ultimate ball hawk for the Chicago Bears defense. He recorded 10 interceptions and made five fumble recoveries. Additionally, he had five total touchdowns (3 pick-sixes and 2 fumble recoveries for touchdowns). He made two Pro Bowls and one All-Pro first team.
The next couple of seasons were a struggle for Jackson. He had no interceptions and just one fumble recovery in the next two years. He started to take criticism.
Then, in 2022, it appeared as if Jackson turned things around. With a new head coach and defensive coordinator, the ball hawk returned. He had three interceptions in his first four games. He added another interception later in the season.
In Week 12, however, Jackson suffered a foot injury. It ended up costing him the rest of the season. Just when he was getting his mojo back, his season was over.
Jackson returned in 2023 but still dealt with the foot injury. When he was on the field he looked a step slower. He finished the season with just one interception. For the second straight season, he only played in 12 games.
Jackson’s future with the team in question
With his injuries and on-the-field struggles, the whispers about his future with the Chicago Bears started. Poles is moving to having a younger, more athletic roster, and Jackson appears to be on the decline. While he and Jaquan Brisker seem to complement each other, having a broken down Jackson does not seem like a good idea.
Throw in Jackson’s contract and the problem escalates. Jackson’s salary will be an $18.14 million salary cap space. While the Chicago Bears are in good shape salary cap-wise, freeing up more money is always a good thing. If the Bears part ways with Jackson, they could save $12.56 million to $14.15 million. That is a good chunk of money to save.
Jackson sends a hint about his time in Chicago
While there is speculation about everything Poles does this offseason, Jackson took to social media to give a clue about his future. It looks as if his time with the Chicago Bears is over. At first, Jackson posted an emoji of a hand giving the peace sign along with a heart. That is the universal sign of saying goodbye. He later deleted that post.
Later, Jackson had another post. this one had two words — “New beginnings.”
— Eddie Jackson (@BoJack4) February 9, 2024
The team will miss Jackson. He was a true leader and was a mentor for Brisker. Safeties coach Andre Curtis was effusive with his praise of Jackson.
Eddie’s kinda like the mouthpiece back there. The communication element, you just feel his presence because he’s seen so many things…Eddie anticipates fast. Really fast. He sees it. He sees it before it happens and he’s communicating, ‘Alert on this motion. Be alert for this.’ A lot of guys can learn that stuff or see that stuff, but can they share it or process it to the other people? Some guys have a knack for that and Eddie, that’s what makes him really cool.
It is the end of an era for the Chicago Bears. Poles is trying to create a new era of football and sometimes that means having to say goodbye to popular players.
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