The Washington Football Team is signing former Bengals corner William Jackson III, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that it will be a three-year, $42MM pact with $26MM in guaranteed money.
That puts Jackson in the top-10 of the cornerback market in terms of AAV. The 2016 first-rounder has proven himself as a strong cover corner over his first few years in the league, and though he has yet to make a Pro Bowl, he could receive those honors in the near future. He missed his entire rookie campaign due to injury and started just five games in his second professional season, but from 2017-20, he tallied 41 passes defensed and three picks, and he graded as Pro Football Focus’ 20th-best CB (out of 121 qualifiers) last season.
He will serve as a worthy replacement for Ronald Darby — who agreed to a free agent deal with the Broncos yesterday — and will team with Kendall Fuller to provide WFT with a strong starting tandem at the cornerback position. The club was terrific against the pass last season, so maintaining a quality 1-2 punch on the boundaries was a key part of its push for back-to-back playoff appearances.
Although Jackson had previously expressed a desire to remain in Cincinnati on a long-term basis, the writing was on the wall when the club agreed to sign Mike Hilton and Chidobe Awuzie earlier today. Jackson is probably better than both players, but Hilton and Awuzie’s combined AAV is about the same as Jackson’s, so the Bengals saw an opportunity to acquire two quality starters for the price of one.
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