Patriots standout cornerback J.C. Jackson has likely priced himself out of New England because of his strong performances as he approaches free agency and his financial expectations, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.
NFL Free Agency: J.C. Jackson too expensive for New England?
Jackson is chasing a $20 million annual average, and some team might pay him nearly that amount. It just won’t be the Patriots, per sources, who are not expected to get into a bidding war for the former undrafted free agent out of Maryland.
Jackson has intercepted 25 passes in four seasons, the most of any player in his first four seasons in the league along with Everson Walls and Lester Hayes. He’s made just $5.1 million since entering the NFL and has intercepted 17 passes over the past two seasons.
Now, it’s time for Jackson to cash in. It’s reminiscent of how Super Bowl hero and former Pro Bowl corner Malcolm Butler left the Patriots on a five-year, $61 million contract in 2018. And the Patriots will likely need to seek less expensive alternatives to replace Jackson.
As for Jackson, the Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, and several other NFL teams could all use a shutdown cornerback.
Whoever lands him will be getting a good one. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick once said of Jackson’s opportunistic playing style, “You leave any trash laying around, he’s going to pick it up.”
Recapping Jackson’s career with the Patriots
J.C. Jackson burst onto the scene in New England in 2019 when he registered 5 interceptions and 10 pass deflections in his second season as an undrafted rookie out of Maryland. Yet, the more impressive statistic was his ability to be a ball magnet while also allowing just 31 of 63 targets thrown his way to be caught.
In 2021, Jackson intercepted 8 passes and returned one for a touchdown. His worst performance: Allowing a long touchdown pass to Houston Texans backup wide receiver and special-teams contributor Chris Moore on a jump ball in between him and safety Devin McCourty.
PFN Lead Analyst Dalton Miller states, “Jackson is a sharp tackler who didn’t make mental mistakes. He was generally regarded as disruptive to passing lanes and someone to be avoided by opposing quarterbacks. Jackson should be fine wherever he ends up. He’s a press-man cornerback by trade, but as he did against Dallas in 2021, he’s shown he can flash in zone coverage as well.”
All of this, in part, is why Jackson was named the fourth-best player on our Top 75 NFL Free Agent Rankings.