June 25, 2024

Patriots Set to Cut Ties With Controversial $83 Million Ex-Pro Bowler: ‘Formality’

Bill Belichick, Patriots part ways: Ranking top replacements to fill  legendary coach's shoes in New England - CBSSports.com

There are not a lot of positions at which the Patriots are well set-up for the present and future, but cornerback is one of them. The Patriots took a blow last season when rookie Christian Gonzalez, who appears to be a star in the making, went down with a shoulder injury, But Gonzelez should be back next season ready to again bookend Jonathan Jones. But JC Jackson, the guy the Patriots acquired to replace Gonzalez, is a different story.

After a controversy-packed season in which the Chargers effectively gave him away in the trade to New England and the Patriots suspended him for missing curfew, Jackson is a pretty sure bet to be cut by the Patriots this year.

That’s the assertion from Pro Football Focus in an article titled, “Cut Candidates for All 32 Teams.” Even if Jackson had not been a lightning rod for trouble and controversy, his performance on the field probably would have dictated that the Patriots cut him, anyway. PFF gave Jackson a season grade of 34.8, which was 127th out of 127 cornerbacks in the NFL.

Patriots Would Save $14.4 Million

Here’s what PFF’s Brad Spielberger wrote of cutting Jackson, a move that will save the Patriots $14.4 million in salary room and will push their total salary cap space up around the $90 million mark.

“This is a bit of a formality after the Patriots inherited Jackson’s contract from the Los Angeles Chargers with the 2023 salary reduced down close to the minimum, and now the salaries balloon back up. Jackson remained one of the lowest-graded cornerbacks in the entire NFL even after his reunion in New England, and the return of Christian Gonzalez in 2024 should provide the Patriots their new lockdown cornerback of the future.”

Jackson started his career with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2018, and quickly became an unlikely success story, helping the team to a Super Bowl win and earning a Pro Bowl designation in 2021, when he led the league with 23 passes defended.

He parlayed that into a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2022. But Jackson’s career went off the rails after that, and just weeks into his first season in L.A., the Chargers wanted out of his deal. The Patriots took him back for a late-round pick swap in October of last season.

JC Jackson Struggled With ‘Mental Health Issues,’ per Agent

Jackson courted controversy throughout the year, as the Patriots benched him for most of Week 9 when he missed curfew at the team’s hotel. The Patriots held him out the following week, and did not take him to Germany for the game against the Colts.

Jackson was active for the Patriots’ Week 15 game against Kansas City, but did not attend the game, and closed out the rest of the season on non-football related injured reserve.


Adam Schefter


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