Since Bill Belichick became the head coach and general manager of the Patriots over 20 years ago, several players have gone on to leave the team despite their impressive performances and contributions during their time in New England.
Many of them have not taken too kindly to not being re-signed, whether it be due to Belichick believing another player is more talented or not wanting to pay the free agent top dollar, or often what they're worth.
Among the recent players that have taken issue with the head coach is former Patriots' cornerback J.C. Jackson.
He left New England for the Los Angeles Chargers during free agency in 2022, much to the disapproval of Patriots fans. But because of Belichick's history of letting top-performing players go, the move was not considered that surprising.
The consensus believed Jackson wasn't re-signed due to the salary he was hoping for, as it had been reported he was seeking to become the highest-paid cornerback in the league. Belichick has never been the type of GM to dish out that kind of money for any player, not even Tom Brady, thus leading to Jackson's move out west.
But what made the entire situation more interesting was the news that there was, indeed, mutual interest in keeping Jackson in Foxboro, a shocking development considering the money involved.
More details on how the conversations went between him and the Patriots were revealed after the news broke of Jackson signing with the Chargers, receiving a five-year, $82.5 million contract.
Belichick offered Jackson a similar contract to the one he ultimately signed for in Los Angeles, with the reported contract being a multi-year deal that would give him around $17 million a season. But the Chargers front-loaded their offer, allowing Jackson to be guaranteed more money upfront than what the Patriots were willing to dish out.
Regardless of the closeness in offers, Jackson was unhappy with how the Patriots handled the situation and is apparently still holding a grudge.
During a recent sit down on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access Live” this week, the cornerback was asked about his first time back to Gillette this upcoming season, when the Chargers visit the Patriots in week 13.
"It’s a revenge game for me. I’m excited to go back and pick Mac Jones off and show them why they should’ve never let me go."
It's unsurprising for players to be upset with their former team letting them go, especially if they hoped to remain there.
But is it not a bit odd to hear Jackson feel this way when the Patriots did extend an offer before he signed with the Chargers? Not only that, a nearly identical offer?
There are very clear unsettled feelings there, and the Patriots offense will need to prepare for a motivated Jackson when the teams meet up. New England knows more than anyone what he is capable of in the secondary.