Suspended safety Tanard Jackson remains under contract with the Redskins for the 2013 season, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.
Jackson signed a one-year contract with the Redskins last April after he was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He did not play at all last season because he was suspended indefinitely by the NFL last summer for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He is eligible to be reinstated by the league in late August.
Jackson has appeared on some unofficial media lists as among the players eligible for unrestricted free agency this month. But the three people familiar with the matter said Friday that under NFL rules governing such issues, Jackson’s one-year contract with the Redskins rolls over into the upcoming season.
He does not count against the salary cap, one of those people said, as long as he remains under suspension.
Jackson still must be reinstated by the NFL in order to be eligible to play next season. According to a written statement released by the league last August, when Jackson was suspended without pay, he is eligible for reinstatement beginning Aug. 31, 2013.
While a member of the Buccaneers in 2010, Jackson was suspended indefinitely for violating the substance abuse policy and missed all but two games that year and six games in 2011. In 2009, he was suspended and missed four games.
If Jackson is eligible to play for the Redskins next season, his presence could help to eliminate a problem area for the team. Redskins officials have said they’d hoped to have Jackson and Brandon Meriweather as their starters at the two safety spots last season. But Jackson was suspended and Meriweather missed all but one game because of knee injuries. The Redskins ranked 30th in the league in pass defense.
Meriweather also remains under contract for next season.