ENGLEWOOD — Perhaps waiting to see how the free-agent market developed or focusing on specific targets, the Broncos took until Monday night to make their first addition.

A league source confirmed the Broncos agreed to a three-year contract with Houston Texans cornerback/safety Kareem Jackson.

The NFL Network reported the deal will be worth $33 million ($23 million guaranteed). The average salary of $11 million will make Jackson the team's highest-paid cornerback.

The move won't generate the same level of headlines Kansas City did with safety Tyrann Mathieu or Oakland did with receiver Antonio Brown and left tackle Trent Brown. But the Broncos addressed a need for experience and versatility in the secondary.

Jackson, 30, can't sign until 2 p.m. Wednesday. That is also when the trade for quarterback Joe Flacco will become official.

Broncos general manager John Elway made and received calls from agents throughout the day, but Jackson emerged early in the afternoon.

The Broncos' secondary will also have multiple new starters after the release of safety Darian Stewart and expected departure of free-agent cornerback Bradley Roby.

Last year for Houston, Jackson started four games at safety before moving to cornerback for the final 12 games. He made a career-high 87 tackles plus two interceptions and 17 pass break-ups (tied for third in the NFL with Detroit's Darius Slay).


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"Kareem had a really good year for us," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said at the scouting combine. "He's a versatile player. He's a guy that has leadership qualities."

The Broncos have an opening at safety after releasing Stewart last week, but they could envision Jackson as a hybrid cornerback/safety depending on that week's opponent and individual matchups.

The addition of Jackson still leaves the Broncos in play to draft a cornerback in the first three rounds.

A nine-year veteran, Jackson has started 124 of his 132 career games and totaled 559 tackles, 16 interceptions and six forced fumbles.

Jackson faced the Broncos last year at Mile High. In 66 snaps, the Denver Post charted him for 12 "factor" plays (combination of play against the run and in coverage). He had four tackles and two pass break-ups. Jackson played several coverage snaps over the Broncos' slot receivers.

And that ability could be key in the Broncos' defense. On a given week, if Fangio wants Harris to shadow a team's No. 1 receiver, it is now doable because Jackson can play inside. The Broncos did not have that luxury last year because Roby and Tramaine Brock were strictly outside players.

All was quiet for the Broncos' free agents. The team allowed 14 players to hit the market, including center Matt Paradis and tight end Jeff Heuerman. Kansas City center Mitch Morse left for Buffalo on a four-year, $44 million contract, the kind of term and money that Paradis is seeking, but is unlikely to get from the Broncos. The New York Jets are believed to be interested in Paradis.

The Broncos' only moves involved picking up the 2019 contract options on Harris and receiver Emmanuel Sanders.

Harris was an expected move. He is entering the final year of his contract and once the Broncos get through the first few waves of free agency, it is assumed they will pursue an extension with Harris.

At the combine, Elway said Sanders' option would be picked up. It includes only $1.5 million of guaranteed money so the Broncos are making a low-risk bet on Sanders to see how he progresses from last December's Achilles injury.