It's fair to say Detroit Lions left guard Jonah Jackson proved his worth when he missed five games in a six-game span earlier this season. It's not ideal to miss a lot of time in a contract year as he has, but he's now healthy and ideally ready to end the season on a healthy note.
Jackson has said he wants to spend his entire career in Detroit, and it's fair to say the feeling is mutual. Amid all the failures of Bob Quinn's final draft class as Lions' general manager (2020), Jackson has proven to be a find.
Jackson is lined to be one of the top free agent guards next March. As Pro Football expanded their 2024 free agent rankings from 50 to 100, he is No. 94 overall and the eighth guard on the list. Contract projections can be foolhardy sometimes, depending on timing, but it's getting toward the point where we can get a decent idea of what Jackson might command.
Fresh Jonah Jackson contract projection from Pro Football Focus
Here's what PFF's Brad Spielberger wrote about Jackson.
"Jackson is a force in space in the run game who climbs to the second level well once he gets a head of steam and adjusts laterally to plant his heavy hands into the chests of defenders with balanced feet. Jackson has continued to struggle in pass protection, which is a bit surprising, given his athletic ability. He can be slow out of his stance and/or flat-footed at times, which causes him to lose early on in reps."
Spielberger's free agent comp for Jackson is J.R. Sweezy in 2016, when he signed a five-year, $32.5 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with $12 million guaranteed ($6.5 million per year). And that fostered the following contract projection for the Lions' left guard.
"Contract Projection: Three years, $21.75 million ($7.25 million per year), $11 million total guaranteed"
The perception of Jackson's market value has seemingly taken a hit, as would be expected having missed five games this season. That would also make it easier for the Lions to keep him, in theory.