The New England Patriots have been going through some uncharacteristic tough times over the last couple of seasons. Last year was their first losing season is 20 years, and this year they are currently 2-4.
In the midst of all the losing, J.C. Jackson has emerged as a bright spot, earning mention as one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL.
Playing opposite shutdown corner Stephon Gilmore in 2020, Jackson was frequently targeted and made quarterbacks regret it, recording nine interceptions to rank second in the NFL.
Now, Gilmore has departed from the Patriots in a trade and Jackson is the No. 1 corner on the team. Despite New England’s slow start, Jackson has excelled in his new role.
JC Jackson excelling for Patriots in contract year
In the spring of 2021, the Patriots assigned Jackson a second-round tender for $3.3 million making him a restricted free agent, and Jackson eventually signed to return. The one-year deal is only a temporary fix for the corner, who is still looking to sign a big contract.
Throughout the first six games, Jackson has been negotiating a new contract with his stellar play on the field. Whether it is with New England or elsewhere, the stats back up Jackson’s desire for a nice deal.
The numbers are being overshadowed by the Patriots’ inability to win close games, but if anybody is paying attention, it’s Jackson and his agent.
For New England, it makes no sense continuing to wait to extend Jackson. Having already lost Gilmore, losing Jackson wouldn’t bode well for the defense and the team’s rebuilding efforts. Jackson has proven himself as a secondary corner, and is continuing to do so as the primary corner.
If he makes it to the end of the season without an extension, he will hit the market with plenty of interested suitors, and that only hurts the Patriots’ chances of retaining him. It would be wise for New England to work on securing him now, while they are the only team who can negotiate with him during the season.
As far as Jackson’s side of things, he hasn’t readily made his intentions known. The ball-hawking cornerback hasn’t expressed whether his allegiance is to New England or if he wants to test the market come this offseason in search of more money or a better situation. Either way, it is best for the Patriots if they make sure he doesn’t have the chance to do so.