The New England Patriots are gearing up for training camp, and it currently looks like they’ll be without their most important player on defense, Stephon Gilmore.
Of course, Gilmore is disgruntled with the current terms of his contract — he’s slated to pocket just $7 million this season — and sat out of mandatory minicamp as a result.
However, there’s reason for fans to be optimistic, as Gilmore recently told reporters he’s open to signing an extension or taking a raise. That gives the Patriots the flexibility they’ve hopefully been looking for since the star cornerback’s holdout started.
But what about JC Jackson? Despite knowing Gilmore’s contract could end up causing problems, the Patriots went ahead and placed a second-round tender on Jackson.
We’d like to think New England will be open to extending Jackson next offseason, when he’ll hit unrestricted free agency, but should his situation start to worry fans, too?
Should Patriots fans worry about JC Jackson’s contract situation?
Here’s what Jackson had to say about his situation recently:
"“I didn’t get an extension. So what? Who cares? I know it’s coming,” Jackson told Mike Giardi of NFL Network. “I just love the game, man. The money (is) going to come. I just love playing football.”"
On top of shrugging off not receiving an extension, Jackson was adamant in declaring he’s a No. 1 cornerback. Could that foreshadow the former undrafted talent commanding top dollar next offseason if he picks up where he left in 2020 this campaign? Absolutely.
After all, Jackson finished second in the league with nine interceptions, trailing only Dolphins standout Xavien Howard in that department. The 25-year-old stud also tallied 14 passes defended and allowed just a 59% completion percentage and 66.5 passer rating in coverage.
So, why didn’t the Patriots extend Jackson after another stellar season? Well, probably because they couldn’t afford to after handing out over $200 million in free agency. But assuming some of those one-year deals come off the books after this season, New England should have plenty of cap space to give Jackson his dues.
However, will it be too late at that point? Let’s say Jackson suffered a big injury or had a down year, which affected the chance of him inking a life-changing deal. Would he potentially blame the Patriots and pursue a future with another organization?
You can’t rule it out, especially since we have a two-season sample size of Jackson being one of the best ball-playing CBs in the league … and that the front office had every opportunity to reward him for his production.
Something to think about amid Gilmore’s holdout.