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Saints: 3 free agent targets to replace Malcolm Jenkins who aren’t Tyrann Mathieu

Kareem Jackson #22 of the Denver Broncos. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kareem Jackson #22 of the Denver Broncos. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Saints
Kareem Jackson #22 of the Denver Broncos. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

2. Kareem Jackson

At 33-years-old, Jackson is by far the oldest player on this list, but he also happens to be one of the most experienced and productive safeties of the past decade.

Jackson spent the last three years in Denver playing as strong safety, recording 248 total tackles, 16 passes defended, and four interceptions. He played on a one-year contract in 2021 and will likely command a similar “prove it” deal in NOLA, where he wouldn’t necessarily develop into a franchise cornerstone piece but could keep the defense competitive for the short-term.

Former Broncos head coach Vic Fangio once called Jackson one of his “all-time favorite players,” and it’s not hard to see why:

Forget his age. Jackson could run over a bulldozer with that kind of speed and hitting power.

Jackson’s consistency may serve as the biggest appeal for the Saints, whose current starting-caliber safety, Marcus Maye, is recovering from a season-ending injury. In his 12-year career, Jackson has played 14 games or more in each of nine seasons, and he would immediately benefit the Saints’ defense with his strong veteran presence.

During his tenure in NOLA, Malcolm Jenkins made a massive impact on the team not just in the starting lineup, but in overall leadership and morale. Jackson clearly possesses those locker room qualities, having anchored the Broncos defense for the past three years, and he brings with him a handful of intangible traits that no draft prospect, not even Kyle Hamilton, could match.

He’s not a long-term solution for the Saints at the safety position, but he sure as hell can compete in 2022.

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