JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- New Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson was brutally honest when he talked about leaving a franchise that just won the Super Bowl for one that has won just 12 games in the past three seasons.
It was about the money.
The six-year contract he signed guarantees him $42 million and could pay him up to $90 million if he plays through the entire deal. That is an enormous amount of money and allows Jackson to provide financial stability for his family, which includes his infant daughter Nahla.
It's why he never considered staying in Denver for less money to try to win another Super Bowl.
"You definitely have some guys talk to you that say, 'I took this pay cut to stay here and I did this here to stay here,'" Jackson said. "It's one of those things where I think we all have different priorities. My priority is to take care of my daughter and my family. I came into this league by myself and I'll leave by myself.
"I love the Broncos for helping me out but it's a business and that's how I feel about it. I think a lot of guys say, 'Stay here. We can do this. We can do that.' My mindset is to take care of my family and go out here and help teams get better."
It's refreshing to hear an athlete speak so bluntly. He signed with the Jaguars because they offered the most money. Anyone who criticizes him for it is being foolish.
Jackson has been working toward this since the Broncos drafted him in the fifth round in 2012 out of Tennessee. He missed only two games and had nine sacks in his first three seasons before recording five in 2015.
"It's a business at the end of the day and I realized that going into this year," Jackson said. "It's what you've worked so hard for and put yourself in the position to go out there and do what I did. I had a great year, won the Super Bowl and come out here -- and ultimately make a lot of money for your family.
"It's bittersweet because I loved the organization. They gave me a chance to go out there and play from the get-go. They let me grow and they brought people in there to help me grow. It's a business and now I'm a Jacksonville Jaguar. I couldn't be happier."
You know who else is happy? Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell. He now has one of the best interior linemen in the game just entering the prime of his career. As long as Jackson continues to produce, Caldwell couldn't care less about his motivation. Fame, money, Pro Bowls. Doesn't matter.
For Jackson, it's seeing the end of the deal and earning the full $90 million.
"It's all written out and you earned it, but at the same time you have to go out there and earn it," he said. "They don't give you 90 [million dollars] today. It's not like basketball where I can get it all guaranteed. I still have to go out there. You still have to play. I have to go earn all of it. It's six years, 42-45 [million dollars] guaranteed. I want 90 of it. I want all 90. So I have six years to go out there and earn it.
"That's how I feel about it. Anything that's given to you can be taken away from you at any time. So just have to go out there and do my best and earn all 90. To say at the end of the sixth year, I'd like to say I earned all $90 [million]. I think that'll be the biggest accomplishment."