Emma: Bears' Deal With Eddie Jackson A Win-Win

WBBM Newsradio Staff
January 03, 2020 - 1:42 pm

(670 The Score) Two days after the Bears made a defining selection of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2 overall in a 2017 NFL Draft that will forever be remembered in Chicago, they made a pick that at the time received little attention outside of Halas Hall.

Listen to your team news NOW.

The Bears selected safety Eddie Jackson in the fourth round with the No. 112 overall pick.

General manager Ryan Pace saw a player in Jackson who displayed ball-hawking abilities at Alabama and believed his skills would translate well to the NFL. Pace was undeterred by the broken leg that Jackson suffered in his senior season. 

Pace's vision in Jackson has been proved correct over three seasons. Jackson blossomed into an All-Pro player in 2018 and followed that up by earning Pro Bowl honors for the second consecutive season in 2019. 

And on Friday, the Bears rewarded Jackson. The sides agreed to a four-year contract extension worth up to $58.4 million and with $33 million guaranteed, as Jackson's agency SportsTrust announced. The deal hasn't been confirmed by the Bears yet.

Jackson, 26, is slated to earn an average of $14.6 million annually, which would make him the highest-paid safety in the NFL. It's a major win for Jackson, who has performed well above the expectations of a fourth-round pick. His 10 interceptions over the last three seasons ranks fifth among all NFL safeties.

The deal is also a win for the Bears, who set a market with Jackson in January at a fair price before extensions elsewhere in the league perhaps exceed that mark later in the offseason. The Bears didn't want to hesitate locking Jackson into their long-term plans given his importance to their strong defense.

Pace and his Bears front office will a salary cap crunch this offseason. After restructuring the contract of cornerback Kyle Fuller, the Bears were set with less than $12 million in cap space for 2020 -- and that was before Jackson's extension was reached. Moving forward, the Bears will have to address the future of Trubisky, who's entering the final year of his rookie deal in 2020. Receiver Allen Robinson could also be line for an extension ahead of a contract year.

By getting Jackson's extension in place just days into the offseason, the Bears addressed one of their biggest priorities ahead of their other business.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.