Atlanta Falcons DL Tyson Jackson is in the second year of a five year, $25 million contract. You can buy a lot of hot pockets with that much money. But as a former top five draft pick, Jackson probably envisioned a larger salary, at least at this point in his career.
Jackson isn't a pass rushing guru. He uses his ridiculous strength to play solid run defense. Because Jackson didn't live up to his hype in 2014, many have wondered if the Falcons may cut him.
Jackson was guaranteed $9.5 million when he inked his current contract. The Falcons are still on the hook for another $7.9 million if they cut him right now. Because his 2015 cap hit is only $3.85 million, cutting him now isn't absolutely necessary. Then there's 2016, when he Jackson will receive a substantial raise. In fact, Jackson's cap hit jumps considerably over the last three years of his backloaded contract.
While he could sit around moping or blaming his agent for negotiating a cut-friendly deal, Jackson is taking a more proactive approach. He's hired a personal chef in an attempt to lose a good chunk of weight, ultimately making him a better fit in Dan Quinn's scheme. Credit to Vaughn McClure who broke the news.
"Playing this 4-3 style of defense, there's no reason to be heavy because you're not two-gapping no more [...]"
Quinn addressed the value of Jackson shedding some pounds [...]
"And then in this system ... he'll stunt more and move more than maybe some of the traditional 3-4 teams that Tyson's been a part of through the years. So, as that goes and the movement, you have to give up some of the size and the bulk."
I'm not sure if this is the first time Jackson has hired a personal chef; I certainly hope it isn't. Jackson has to earn his contract if he wants to stay on this team. Jackson won't be here in 2016 if he has another underwhelming season. It does sound like the team is being very explicit about their expectations - let's just hope Jackson is hearing them.