ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Malik Jackson, a stalwart on the Broncos’ top-rated defense that was the key in the team winning the Super Bowl this past season, is bolting Denver for the Jacksonville Jaguars, ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported Tuesday.
Just got off the phone with #Broncos DE Malik Jackson. I asked if definitively intends to leave Denver for Jacksonville. He said, “yes."
— ig: josinaanderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 8, 2016
The Broncos had made keeping Jackson a top offseason priority but could not convince him to stay on an offer of about $11 million per season.
NFL Network reported Jackson and the Jaguars are closing in on a six-year deal and reports surfaced it could be worth $90 million with $42 million guaranteed, well above the Broncos' budget.
Jackson was attracting interest from the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders besides the Jaguars, who have a whopping $82.2 million available in salary cap space.
It's the third consecutive year the Broncos will lose a big-name player to the Jaguars through free agency.
Two years ago, after a loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, left guard Zane Beadles signed a five-year, $30 million contract. He was released last week. And last year, tight end Julius Thomas signed a five-year, $46 million deal with Jacksonville.
The Broncos will also face competition in keeping linebacker Danny Trevathan. Chicago, led by former Broncos coach John Fox, have reportedly offered a four-year contract to Travathan.
The Broncos also announced they had released three players ahead of the start of the new league year: Guard Louis Vasquez, tight end Owen Daniels and long snapper Aaron Brewer.
"These decisions are never easy, but we appreciate the contributions Louis, Owen and Aaron made to our team, especially during our Super Bowl run,” Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager John Elway said in news release.
Vasquez started 47 regular-season games and all seven postseason games the past three seasons after signing as an unrestricted free agent.
Daniels, who was signed as an unrestricted free agent last year, had 46 receptions for 517 yards and three touchdowns this past season.
Brewer had been the Broncos' long snapper since signing as a college free agent in 2012.
The release of Daniels, Vasquez and Brewer will clear an additional $8.1 million in salary cap space for the Broncos, but they also added about $2.37 million in dead money.