Patriots: Why hasn’t JC Jackson been tendered yet?

Patriots CB JC Jackson (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Patriots CB JC Jackson (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots have been one of the most active teams on the transaction front of late following their signing of quarterback Cam Newton, acquisition of offensive tackle Trent Brown, and unloading of 2020 opt out Marcus Cannon.

In essence, it makes perfect sense why the Patriots are putting an emphasis on shoring up the offensive side of the ball this offseason after they ranked as one of the least efficient teams in the league in that department last campaign.

Based on reports, fans can expect New England to continue making marquee additions to their offense once free agency opens up this week.

As encouraging as that sounds, however, it would be nice to hear some rumors pertaining to defensive upgrades.

To be more specific, we can’t wrap our minds around why restricted free agent JC Jackson hasn’t been tendered by the Patriots yet.

Per the latest buzz, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the star cornerback is hit with a second-round tender.

Why haven’t the Patriots placed a tender on cornerback JC Jackson yet?

We wouldn’t advise fans to hit the panic button just yet, but the Patriots placing a second-round tender on Jackson would significantly increase the chances of him leaving this offseason.

After all, when you consider Jackson’s age (25) and that he’s the full package at cornerback in terms of dominating in single coverage and creating turnovers, you better believe multiple teams would be willing to cough up a second-rounder to steal him from New England.

For context, Jackson has produced 100 tackles, 17 interceptions and 30 passes defended while allowing just a 46.4 passer rating when targeted over his first three seasons. Those numbers have unsurprisingly seen him earn en elite 72.6 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus.

Once the NFL finalized its restricted free agent tender numbers for 2021, it seemed like a no-brainer for the Patriots to keep Jackson for just $4.76 million. While doing so wouldn’t confirm that he’d stay, history has proven that the odds of another team forking over something as valuable as a first-round pick AND a ton of money are extremely unlikely.

We’d like to think that the Patriots value Jackson incredibly highly, but them placing a second-round tender on him would really suggest otherwise. Either that, or they’re penny-pinching. With the front office seemingly looking for an excuse to trade fellow corner Stephon Gilmore this offseason, we have zero idea why that would be the case.

Going with the younger and cheaper option in Jackson, who’s also managed to avoid injury during the early stages of his career, would obviously be the smarter move for the Patriots. At this stage, however, we can’t say with any confidence that he’ll be back in Foxborough next season, which is a complete 180 from how we felt when the league released its 2021 tender figures.