Texans take one of the top CBs off the market, reaching agreement with Kareem Jackson on 4-year deal, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 7, 2015
I confess, I haven't done a lot of homework on Kareem Jackson, so don't expect this to be a scouting report. I'm more concerned with how this affects the Cleveland Browns.
You could make a good case for Jackson being the top free agent corner. (Well, not anymore, actually. That's like saying Abraham Lincoln's the greatest living president.) He's a true starter but not a top-flight lockdown guy. His contract reflects this. $34 million over 4 years with $20 million guaranteed pales in comparison to Joe Haden's 5-year, $67.5 million deal with $43 million guaranteed (as Chris detailed last year).
Most importantly to the Browns, Jackson's contract sets the market for other corners, including Buster Skrine.
Jackson and Skrine have comparable ball skills. Skrine is a bit better versus smaller, shiftier receivers while Jackson is miles and miles better than Skrine against bigger receivers. The moral of this story is that Jackson should net a bigger deal than Buster Skrine...but we'll see what his agent thinks.
My guess -- and I'm no expert at estimating contracts -- but my guess would be that Skrine's agent will land him a deal in the same ballpark as Kareem Jackson's. The difference is that Skrine's could very well have more funny money in it: more tied up in roster bonuses and performance escalators.
So, what does this mean for the Browns?
They could front-load a deal for Skrine so that it doesn't hurt when the cap gets tighter, they could tighten their belts and give him a market-value deal, or they could let him walk.
I want to see Skrine stay, but with Desir putting in some starting-caliber reps in his limited action, Gilbert's untapped potential, and K'Waun Williams excelling in the slot there is no need to splurge at the position. Then you consider Haden's monster contract, Whitner's free agent deal from last year, and Tashaun Gipson possibly getting a long term re-up...
There's a lot of money tied up in the secondary with more potentially on the way and it would be wise to spend elsewhere and lean on last year's rookies to fill in for Buster Skrine.
Unless, of course, we can somehow luck out and get him at a more affordable rate. But I have mixed feelings about that, Buster has earned a mid-level starting corner deal and I'd like to see him get it.