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Patriots Bring J.C. Jackson Back to New England



New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson

The New England Patriots have traded for J.C. Jackson, bringing him back to the franchise where he began his NFL career. The good news is that Jackson is familiar with the franchise and vice versa, having played his best football in New England. The bad news is that the trade was made due to the rash of injuries the Patriots have suffered at the cornerback position this season.

Ian Rappaport of the NFL Network reported the trade. He indicated it was for a swap of late round draft picks. Rappaport also states that the trade was made in part because Christian Gonzalez is possibly lost for the year.

With the losses of Gonzalez and Marcus Jones, coupled with the uncertain health of Jonathan Jones and Jack Jones, adding a cornerback was crucial for New England. In J.C. Jackson, the Patriots are adding someone who had been a Pro Bowl player with the team just two years ago.

Jackson was an UDFA in 2018 but made the roster out of camp. As a rookie he was part of the New England Patriots most recent Super Bowl championship team. In his second NFL season he became a reliable cornerback in addition to his work on special teams. By season three he blossomed into an excellent cornerback, leading the team with nine interceptions.

But in 2021 J.C. Jackson went from very good to great. The man dubbed as “Mr. INT” led the entire NFL in passes defended (21) and tallied eight interceptions. He made the Pro Bowl and was named second team All Pro. Following the season, Jackson signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Chargers. The deal was for five years and $82.5 million.

With the Chargers, Jackson’s deal looked like a bust. He was injured after only five games with a ruptured patella tendon and would miss the rest of the season. The high priced free agent addition known for his interceptions finished his first year in L.A. with none.

This season Jackson played the first two games and had one interception. He was then inactive for the Chargers last two games. Jackson stated publicly he was confused why he would be inactive. He acknowledged he was not 100% healthy in returning from his injury but clearly felt healthy enough to be in the lineup. There was also rumors it was related to a warrant for his arrest, which was issued the day after his initial benching

The warrant was issued for his arrest in North Attleboro, Mass. Jackson missed the deadline for paying a fine and attending a reckless driving course. These were in lace due to Jackson being charged with driving 100 mph on Route 1 in Massachusetts, in 2021.

“Everything is handled,” Jackson said. “There was a miscommunication, but everything is taken care of.”

According to a post on Twitter/X from NFL analyst Michael Lombardi, “Chargers paying the bulk of the remaining 12 million this year, and no guarantees left in the future, qualifies for the “get him out of the building” type of trade I wrote about in Football Done Right.”

J.C. Jackson will be expected to immediately play an important role with the New England Patriots. With so many injuries in the defensive backfield he could see himself in the starting lineup as early as Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. The Patriots are hoping a return to home will bring back performance from just two years ago that made Jackson a coveted free agent in the first place.