Patriots Release CB J.C. Jackson

Seeing the Chargers foot most of their J.C. Jackson bill, the Patriots will again separate from the veteran cornerback. They announced Jackson’s release Friday.

Due to the nature of last season’s trade, the Pats will pick up considerable cap room via this transaction. No guarantees remained on Jackson’s deal. Thus, no dead money is on tap; New England will gain $14.38MM in cap space.

Considering the Patriots already led the league in cap space, this will be a notable move. It stands to push their available funds past $100MM. Jackson was due $2MM on March 15, per the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin.

Given Jackson’s rocky 2023 season and the arrangement between the Bolts and Pats, it is unsurprising the AFC East team is moving on. Jackson will head back to free agency, but his stock has tanked two years after signing a top-10 cornerback pact. The Chargers gave Jackson a five-year, $82.5MM deal in 2022. They gave the former UDFA $40MM guaranteed; via the 2023 trade, that will turn into $20.8MM in dead money on the Bolts’ 2024 books.

Bill Belichick did move Jackson back into his starting lineup — weeks after Christian Gonzalez‘s season-ending injury. Although Jackson started six games back in New England, his hurdle-filled 2023 continued. The Pats did not take Jackson to Germany for their Colts matchup, with a curfew violation behind that. They also shut down Jackson early to close the season, citing mental health as the reasoning behind the latter decision.

Jackson did spend much of 2023 rehabbing the ruptured patellar tendon he sustained midway through the 2022 slate in Los Angeles. Jackson’s L.A. debut was not going well, however, and Brandon Staley demoted the high-priced corner early last season. Being a healthy scratch for an early-season Vikings matchup, Jackson was soon traded. He did add one interception to his impressive career total, which now sits at 26, but the 28-year-old defender’s career is at a crossroads.

Showing considerable promise during his first Patriots stint, Jackson went from UDFA — after a turbulent college career that involved some off-field trouble — to regular on the 2018 Patriots’ Super Bowl-winning team. Jackson then totaled 17 interceptions between the 2020 and ’21 seasons. Regularly letting corners walk for bigger paydays elsewhere during Belichick’s tenure, the Pats both passed on a franchise tag and a second contract in 2022. After circling back to Jackson in a borderline emergency circumstance last year, New England is moving on once again.

View Comments (1)