Patriots placing second-round tender on JC Jackson feels like a huge risk

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 28: J.C. Jackson #27 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 28: J.C. Jackson #27 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots already lucked out big time with JC Jackson. Why take any risks at this point?

On Wednesday, the Pats finally made the decision to protect Jackson, who is a restricted free agent, and placed a second-round tender on the cornerback.

What’s the problem with that? Well, the first-round tender was only about $1.4 million more and it would have pretty much eliminated any competition for his services.

Not many teams are going to surrender a first-round pick and throw out a ton of money especially with the salary cap at such an unfavorable number in 2021 due to the pandemic.

But a second-round pick changes the game.

For a team that needs a turnover-inducing cornerback, many executives could see that as worthwhile if they have the necessary money to spend.

Here’s why the Patriots placing a second-round tender on JC Jackson is risky.

Not counting Trent Brown, Justin Bethel and Carl Davis, the Patriots reportedly have $26 million in cap space remaining, and that could shrink to somewhere around $15 million when all is said and done. The point? They may not be comfortable giving Jackson a lucrative long-term deal right now, which is what another team could force them to do if he’s presented with an offer sheet.

Stephon Gilmore’s situation presents another problem. He reportedly won’t play under his $7 million salary for 2021, which gives the Patriots two options: give him a raise and a short-term extension or trade him.

Giving him a raise and having to pay Jackson could put them in a bind. Trading him and facing the possibility of losing Jackson could be detrimental for the secondary.

The Patriots already made out like bandits when Jackson went undrafted back in 2018. He’s now turned into a bonafide star and he costs the team almost nothing when you take into account his 17 interceptions in 45 career games. Going the extra $1.4 million could’ve avoided a colossal potential headache.

It could all work out in the Patriots’ favor and we wouldn’t be surprised if it did. But if the situation arises in which a team feels parting with a second-round pick and treating themselves to an up-and-coming 25-year-old cornerback is worthwhile, then, well, Belichick will be kicking himself for not dishing out a minuscule amount of Robert Kraft’s remaining cash.