The Los Angeles Chargers are reportedly signing All-Pro cornerback J.C. Jackson, making their second blockbuster move of the offseason to improve their defense.
Jackson, one of the top NFL free agents in 2022, is joining a defense that just traded second- and sixth-round picks to acquire edge rusher Joey Bosa.
Entering the offseason, head coach Brandon Staley prioritized overhauling his defense. During the 2021 season, Los Angeles ranked 16th in average quarterback rating allowed (93.0) and surrendered the third-most total points (459) to opponents.
The Chargers are quickly building a Super Bowl contender around quarterback Justin Herbert. With the third-year passer still playing on his rookie contract, Los Angeles is among the leaders in NFL salary cap space this offseason.
Even after re-signing wide receiver Mike Williams and bolstering the defense with Jackson and Mack, Los Angeles still has enough flexibility to make its roster even stronger.
How J.C. Jackson impacts the Los Angeles Chargers defense
Adding Jackson fills one of the biggest voids in the Chargers’ defense. Rookie cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. showed flashes in his rookie season, but he’s a volatile player still learning how to play the position in the NFL. Staley’s defense needs a lockdown cornerback, he wanted to find a version of Jalen Ramsey who could help make his scheme work.
- J.C. Jackson stats (2021): 8 interceptions, 47.8 QB rating allowed when targeted (PFF)
A second-team All-Pro selection this past season, Jackson graded as the No. 7 cornerback in football by Pro Football Focus. The 6-foot-1 defensive back is both capable of staying with No. 1 receivers and generating turnovers (17 interceptions since 2020).
Needless to say, Staley will have a lot more confidence in this defense in 2022. Bosa and Mack are two outstanding edge rushers, capable of collapsing the pocket and giving the opponent’s quarterback very little time to throw. Jackson will often be lined up against go-to receivers, meaning the passer will face dire circumstances with very little time to make a decision.
There is still some work to be done. Los Angeles finished with one of the worst run defenses in the NFL this past season. If defensive tackle Jordan Davis is available for the Chargers with the 17th pick, he could fill that gap and turn this into an elite unit.
According to Adam Schefter, Jackson is signing a five-year contract worth $82.5 million and will receive $40 million guaranteed. At $16.5 million AAV, he is tied with Byron Jones as the sixth highest-paid cornerback in the NFL.