New England Patriots cornerback is one of the upcoming top NFL free agents available this offseason. While the Patriots could keep one of the top NFL defensive backs off the open market, it appears that won’t be happening.
Jackson – who has been transparent about the Patriots’ interest in him – has a chance to become one of the highest paid NFL players this offseason. Because of rising salaries for cornerbacks, a franchise tag is projected to cost $17.3 million guaranteed in 2022.
Despite the Patriots having clear needs in the secondary, Mike Reiss of ESPN wrote that the odds are “low” on New England applying the tag on Jackson. The only scenario where it might happen would be if the Patriots could then flip him via sign-and-trade.
- J.C. Jackson stats (2021): 23 pass deflections, 8 interceptions
Allowing the All-Pro cornerback to depart would be a risky decision by New England. He finished the 2021 season rated as the 7th-best cornerback in the NFL by Pro Football Focus, allowing just a 47.8 QB rating when targeted in coverage.
The Maryland alum already demonstrated he can play at an elite level and he is a playmaker, snagging 22 interceptions across his last three seasons.
For a franchise that already traded away Stephon Gilmore and could now lose Jackson, there will be significant questions about the Patriots’ secondary next season.