Bears general manager Ryan Pace checked a major box on Saturday when he signed safety Eddie Jackson to a four-year, $58.4 million extension in a move that locks up one of Chicago’s top all-around playmakers for the foreseeable future.
“We’re very excited to get this deal done with Eddie to keep him in a Bears uniform long-term,” said Pace. “It’s rare to find a player in this league with talent like Eddie’s. He’s a rangy ball hawk with exceptional IQ, a great teammate and a natural leader. He is the anchor to the back end of our defense and we are fortunate to have him.”
Jackson emerged as one of the NFL’s best safeties in 2018 when he finished the year with 51 tackles and six interceptions. His three defensive touchdowns turned him into a highlight waiting to happen.
He wasn’t as dominant in 2019, but his regression was part of an overall step backward for the defense. Still, he finished the season with 60 tackles and two interceptions and became a more outspoken leader for the Bears when things weren’t going well for the team.
“It’s a blessing. Mr. [Ryan] Pace took a chance on me, bringing me in here, fourth round, after the gruesome injury I had in college,” said Jackson in a conference call on Saturday. “Just for him to have that belief in me is a huge blessing.”
Jackson’s $14.6 million average annual salary makes him the highest-paid safety in the league, per Spotrac. His price tag would’ve only gone up had Pace waited to re-sign him until the end of 2020, when Jackson’s rookie deal was due to expire.
“There’s still a lot of unfinished business out there,” Jackson said. “The most important part is bringing that Super Bowl trophy back to Chicago. I’m not going to stop until I can’t go no more. That’s one thing they’ll get from me. I want to retire a Chicago Bear and I want to do that after I help bring the Super Bowl to the city.”