Will Bears trade Eddie Jackson in the offseason?
Scott Galvin - USA Today Sports

Will Bears trade Eddie Jackson in the offseason?

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - Right now, 2024 is set to be the final year of Eddie Jackson’s contract. With him coming off, arguably, the worst season of his career while also being one of the highest-paid safeties in the league, is Eddie Jackson a potential trade candidate for Chicago?

Financially, this seems like a good move. First, Jackson is the third highest-paid free safety in the NFL right now with a base salary of over $14 million. Statistically, his performance did not match his salary with only one interception and his first season without registering a tackle for loss. Further, he had a career low in total tackles (37), solo tackles (32) and assists (5). He also had his highest missed-tackle percentage of his career, which was 17.8 percent. Injuries have also caused him to miss five games in each of the last two seasons.

Looking at the cap, trading Jackson would help Chicago a lot. Right now, he has the third-highest cap hit out of anyone on the Bears at $18,140,000 for next season. The only two players above him, Pro-Bowler Montez Sweat and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds who was second on the team in tackles. Elite receiver DJ Moore even poses less of a cap hit and he is coming off of one of the best seasons in the history of Chicago Bears receivers.

Another contributing factor is that the Bears are not in the same position with the salary cap as they were last season. While they are certainly not in a precarious situation as they have over $50 million of cap space currently going into the offseason, adding another $18 to that total would certainly free the Bears up to make some big moves in the offseason, such as pursuing Derrick Henry or Mike Evans if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do not get a deal done with him.

If the Bears were to trade Jackson, as long as they are able to find a trade partner which should not be a problem since having a good safety is so essential to a team, they could get a decent return for the trade. This could include draft picks and as Chicago currently does not have a second-round pick, perhaps a trade for Jackson could include a second-rounder. They also only have a total of six picks right now. Given the current state of the franchise, they will probably want more picks for them to acquire more talent. That is especially true since they have been able to hit on late-round draft picks in the past, such as corner Terell Smith who got a lot of playing time for the Bears this past season.

While the injuries certainly impacted his performance these past few seasons, when Eddie Jackson has been healthy, he has done well for the Bears. Further, head coach Matt Eberflus has identified Jackson as really helping with the development of younger safety Jaquan Brisker, who held the Bears secondary players in tackles this past season. This could help Jackson's case for him to stay around for another season.

One other aspect that could help Jackson’s cause is that the Bears are trying to build a strong team. Jackson, as the longest-tenured player on the team, is a key leader in the locker room who helps to establish the culture and mentality that is key to building this team. Further, the defense as a whole started to excel in the second half of the season, which is when Jackson got his interception. If the Bears want to carry that momentum into next season, keeping Jackson is probably essential toward that goal.

So, will the Bears end up keeping Eddie Jackson? It is anyone’s guess right now, but there is an argument to be made for both sides. From a financial standpoint, however, Jackson definitely seems like a strong trade candidate.

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