1. JC Jackson
The Patriots are currently embroiled in a contract stalemate with Stephon Gilmore, who was nowhere to be found at mandatory minicamp as he seeks a new deal.
Gilmore is entering the final year of his contract, which is set to pay him just $7 million this upcoming season after the Patriots borrowed some of his salary last year. They could’ve solved the problem then by signing him to an extension, but their cap situation made that impossible.
Now, however, Gilmore’s future with the Patriots is anything but certain, though the latest buzz suggests a trade is unlikely. Nevertheless, the ambiguity regarding Gilmore’s immediate future is concerning and makes JC Jackson a real candidate for team MVP.
Don’t underestimate JC Jackson’s value to the Patriots.
Jackson has been one of the most productive cornerbacks since the Pats signed him as an undrafted free agent back in 2018. In the three years since, he’s managed 100 tackles, 17 interceptions, and 30 passes defended while allowing a 46.4 passer rating.
The former Maryland star has proven to be a model of consistency, though questions remain regarding whether he has a future as a No. 1 corner. Bottom line? If Gilmore is traded or his holdout extends into the regular season, Jackson will be in a position to assert himself as a defensive piece worth building around.