Patriots: Will JC Jackson stay in NE after signing second-round tender?

Patriots CB JC Jackson (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Patriots CB JC Jackson (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots’ secondary, which has arguably been their most dependable unit over the last several seasons, has been a focal talking point thus far this offseason.

Of course, the discussion has mostly centered on the respective futures of star cornerback duo Stephon Gilmore and JC Jackson, both of whom entered the offseason on expiring contracts.

Speaking strictly in terms of Jackson, the Patriots boldly placed a second-round tender on him earlier in the offseason.

What made that such an audacious move was that hitting him with a first-round tender essentially would’ve eliminated the chances of him signing elsewhere.

Luckily for the Patriots however, they don’t even have to entertain that discussion. According to insider Jeff Howe of The Athletic, Jackson signed his second-round tender on Friday, meaning other potential suitors cannot sign him to an offer sheet.

With that being said, however, league rules permit that teams can still offer lower draft picks in an attempt to acquire the 25-year-old star via trade.

Taking that into account, should fans be concerned that Jackson might not be long for New England?

Does cornerback JC Jackson signing his second-round tender mean he’ll stay with the Patriots long term?

The Patriots, if you might recall, faced a similar situation with former cornerback Malcolm Butler four years ago before he was ultimately released after an underwhelming 2017 campaign that was highlighted by him being benched in the Super Bowl.

As we know, however, the unceremonious end to Butler’s tenure with the Patriots didn’t prevent him from inking a lucrative contract in free agency. Fans will remember him landing a five-year, $61 million deal with the Tennessee Titans, which ended up being fully deserved in retrospect.

With that in mind, we seriously doubt the Patriots will take a similar risk with Jackson, who’s been incredibly productive over his first three seasons. In 45 games, the former undrafted talent has tallied 100 tackles, 17 interceptions, 30 passes defended and three fumble recoveries.

For those wondering, only Dolphins corner Xavien Howard has more interceptions (18) than Jackson during that span, which makes it all the more bizarre that he’s yet to earn a Pro Bowl selection, but that’s a discussion for another day.

In a promising sign that indicates Jackson is keen on staying with the Patriots for the long haul, he took to Instagram with a post that conveyed his excitement from signing the tender, which will pay him approximately $3.4 million next season.

That post suggests Jackson is in no rush to get a long-term deal done. In other words, if he continues on this upward trajectory — his production has literally increased every year — he could be the recipient of a massive contract as an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

While we would argue that the Patriots would be better off getting a deal done this offseason since his value can seemingly only go up unless he suffers a major injury or completely forgets how to play the position, this is still a promising sign that Jackson is in this for the long haul…mentally.