J.C. Jackson

Chargers To Start Jamaree Salyer At LT

The Chargers have placed starting LT Rashawn Slater on injured reserve, and they will be turning to a rookie to fill the void. As Daniel Popper of The Athletic reported earlier this week, the Bolts will deploy 2022 sixth-rounder Jamaree Salyer on QB Justin Herbert‘s blind side for the team’s Week 4 matchup with the Texans (Twitter link).

It would have been fair to expect veteran Storm Norton, who started 15 games at right tackle for the Chargers in 2021 and who filled in at left tackle in Week 3 when Slater went down with a torn biceps tendon, to get the nod, at least for the next couple of games. That is especially true given that Salyer, who is listed at 6-3, has less than ideal height for an NFL tackle. Given his size, Salyer was originally drafted as a guard, though he does have long arms and acquitted himself well as a tackle against Aidan Hutchinson — this year’s No. 2 overall pick — in the College Football Playoff semifinals last year.

Salyer also has a higher ceiling than Norton, a 2017 UDFA who lost this summer’s training camp battle for the starting RT job to Trey Pipkins III. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes, the expectation is that Salyer will be a capable replacement for Slater. In the first three weeks of his pro career, Salyer has seen the field for 11 special teams snaps, so Sunday’s game will represent a trial by fire.

Herbert, of course, needs all the protection he can get. The passer is dealing with fractured rib cartilage, and while he came off the injury report on Friday, head coach Brandon Staley has confirmed that the injury will linger and will impact Herbert for some time. Luckily, starting center Corey Linsley — who exited the team’s Week 2 loss to the Chiefs due to a knee injury and who was inactive for the Week 3 loss to the Jaguars — is active for Sunday’s Houston contest.

RapSheet also passes along some good news with respect to Slater. Despite reports that the second-year pro would miss the remainder of the season, he may be able to return near the end of the campaign. If the Chargers are in the playoff hunt, Slater could suit up for one of the final two games of the season, or at least for the first game of the postseason if Los Angeles should qualify.

Cornerback J.C. Jackson, like Herbert, also came off the injury report on Friday.

Chargers CB J.C. Jackson To Play Tonight

J.C. Jackson will make his Chargers debut tonight. James Palmer of NFL Network reports (on Twitter) that the cornerback will play tonight against the Chiefs.

Jackson was considered a game-time decision coming into Thursday. The offseason acquisition missed Week 1 while recovering from late-August ankle surgery. Palmer notes that the cornerback looked good during practice this week, and he’ll give it a go tonight against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

The 26-year-old joined Los Angeles this offseason on a five-year, $82.5MM contract. He’s expected to slide in opposite former second-round pick Asante Samuel Jr. at cornerback. Michael Davis, who got into 100 percent of the Chargers’ defensive snaps in Week 1, will likely see a backup role with Jackson in the lineup.

Jackson spent the first four seasons of his career in New England, evolving from an undrafted rookie into a second-team All-Pro. The cornerback has 25 career interceptions in 62 career games, including 17 picks over the past two years. He also led the league with 23 passes defended in 2021.

Elsewhere on the injury front for Thursday Night Football, Chiefs offensive lineman Trey Smith will play tonight, according to Palmer (via Twitter). The lineman suffered an ankle injury during Kansas City’s Week 1 victory, leading to a questionable designation heading into tonight’s game. After being a limited participant in practice on Tuesday, he was a full participant on Wednesday.

AFC Injury Notes: Ravens, Watt, Bengals

J.K. Dobbins returned to practice today, with the running back hoping to make his long-awaited return to the field this Sunday. The Ravens running back admitted that his injury “wasn’t just a normal ACL,” with Dobbins explaining that he tore his ACL, LCL, hamstring, and meniscus at the end of the 2021 preseason (per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley on Twitter). It’s been just over a year since Dobbins suffered his injury.

“It would mean the world to me if I can go out there this Sunday and play well in front of a full house,” Dobbins said (via Hensley).

Fellow running back Gus Edwards also missed the entire 2021 season with a torn ACL, but thanks to his placement on PUP, he’ll have to sit out the first four games of the season. Still, Edwards took to Instagram to tell fans that he continues to progress in his recovery and eventual return to the field.

“For everybody wondering about my recovery I’m doing great and I’m very close,” Edwards wrote.

More injury notes from around the AFC…

  • The news keeps getting better for T.J. Watt and the Steelers. The star linebacker could recover from his partially torn pectoral muscle within five weeks, according to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com. There was initial fear that Watt had completely torn his pec, which would have ended his season. The news quickly got better; we learned yesterday that Watt wouldn’t need surgery and could be back within six weeks.
  • Bengals long snapper Clark Harris is expected to miss an extended amount of time after tearing his biceps, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). While Zac Taylor didn’t want to rule out the LS for the season, he did acknowledge that the 38-year-old will miss at least a few months (via ESPN’s Ben Baby on Twitter). Harris, a one-time Pro Bowler, has been with the organization since 2009. Cal Adomitis will get the first shot to replace Harris at long snapper.
  • J.C. Jackson has been listed as questionable for tomorrow’s game against the Chiefs, and Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said earlier this week that the cornerback has a “50-50” shot at playing (per NFL Network’s James Palmer on Twitter). Jackson previously suffered an ankle injury that forced him to miss the team’s Week 1 victory over the Raiders. After earning a second-team All-Pro nod with the Patriots in 2021, Jackson joined Los Angeles this offseason on a five-year, $82.5MM deal. Meanwhile, both Chargers wideout Keenan Allen (hamstring) and Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker (ankle) have been ruled out for Thursday’s showdown.
  • Mac Jones dealt with back spasms following the Patriots‘ Week 1 loss to the Dolphins, but the quarterback continues to improve, according to NFL Network’s Mike Giardi (on Twitter). A source told Giardi that the QB is “doing everything he needs to” in order to be on the field for this weekend’s matchup against the Steelers. Jones and the Patriots offense struggled during the season opener, with the second-year QB guiding New England to only one touchdown.

Latest On Chargers’ J.C. Jackson

The Chargers made a number of headline-grabbing defensive additions this offseason, including a big-money signing for cornerback J.C. Jackson. It appears unlikely that his Los Angeles debut will take place this Sunday, however. 

Jackson had surgery performed on his ankle last month, a somewhat surprising procedure given the lack of injury concerns dating back to his Patriots tenure. As a result, Jackson’s Week 1 availability was placed in doubt despite the team’s insistence that it was not made necessary by an ailment.

When speaking to the media recently, general manager Tom Telesco confirmed via The Athletic’s Daniel Popper (subscription required) that the vaguely-defined ankle issue sprung up during training camp and was unrelated to his four years in New England.

“He never had any problems with it before” Telesco added, when asked about Jackson’s physical taken around the time of his free agent signing. “You don’t X-ray and MRI every single joint, but you do for the ones that have had issues earlier.” Regarding the decision to have the surgery done, he said, “We didn’t wait; it just started bothering [Jackson]. Just decided it was bothering him too much.”

The terms of his contract – five years, $82.5MM with $40MM guaranteed – made Jackson one of the top defensive players to change teams in March, and a key part of the Chargers’ heavy investments on that side of the ball. The league’s top ballhawk since his career began in 2018, the 26-year-old racked up 25 interceptions and 53 pass breakups with the Patriots.

The start to his Chargers tenure will probably need to wait at least one more week due to the recovery timeline of the surgery, though. As NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport confirms (via Twitter), Jackson should be available “soon,” but Week 1 would be an unrealistic target. In his absence, Los Angeles will likely turn to a starting trio of Michael Davis along with Asante Samuel Jr. and Bryce Callahan against the Raiders.

Bolts’ J.C. Jackson Undergoes Ankle Surgery

AUGUST 24: Providing further context on the matter, head coach Brandon Staley explained that the procedure was not undertaken to heal an injury. “It’s more of a comfort level when he will decelerate at times. It’s just more about his peace of mind moving forward, to do it now… He tried the rehab part of it and an injection and he just felt like if we can get this thing done that he’s going to be full speed and there’s no turning back. And again, I can’t state it enough, there’s not an injury with his ankle” (Twitter links via The Athletic’s Daniel Popper).

AUGUST 23: The Chargers may be without their well-paid cornerback acquisition to start the season. J.C. Jackson underwent ankle surgery Tuesday in New York.

The former Patriots corner faces a two- to four-week recovery timetable, making him iffy for the Bolts’ regular-season opener. No roster move involving Jackson will be made until the team sets its 53-man squad, though it is unlikely — barring a setback — Jackson will need to be placed on IR to start the season. This procedure can be categorized as a scope, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Jackson left New England for Los Angeles after the Bolts authorized a five-year, $82.5MM deal. That pact came with $40MM fully guaranteed and $28MM in Year 1. The former UDFA has intercepted 17 passes over the past two seasons; his 23 passes defensed led the league in 2021. Jackson also closed his Patriots career having not missed a game over the past three seasons.

This year’s Bolts season starts off with key games. The Chargers open the season against the Raiders and then travel to Kansas City for a Thursday-night game in Week 2. Not having Jackson against a reloaded Raiders offense or against perennial MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes would certainly test the Chargers, though L.A. does have some returning starters at the position.

Michael Davis is the frontrunner to be the team’s outside corner starter opposite Jackson, having moved ahead of former second-round pick Asante Samuel Jr. for that gig. Jackson’s injury opens the door to a configuration of Davis, Samuel and slot Bryce Callahan. The latter’s rampant injury troubles also make Samuel a candidate to see slot duty.

Chargers Rumors: RT, Davis, Palmer

The Chargers offensive line is almost perfectly set for the regular season. They return the left-side trio of tackle Rashawn Slater, guard Matt Feiler, and center Corey Linsley, who were all very impressive in the same roles last year. They used their first-round pick this year to fill the right guard spot with rookie guard Zion Johnson out of Boston College. 

The right tackle position is currently a battle between last year’s starter Storm Norton and reserve lineman Trey Pipkins III. Norton has vastly outperformed his undrafted status, but does leave something to be desired at the position. The Chargers are really hoping, though, that Pipkins will live up to his third-round draft stock from three years ago, according to Daniel Popper of The Athletic.

Pipkins spent the offseason working out with Duke Manyweather, who works with offensive lineman in Dallas. Los Angeles will hope that Pipkins will be able to make the leap and take over the starting right tackle job to fill in their ideal offensive line. If not, they will likely rely again on Norton and focus any blocking help directly to that side of the line.

Here are a few other notes on position battles the Chargers face going into the preseason, according to Popper:

  • Cornerback Michael Davis is heading into his sixth year with the Chargers. After spending his first season and a half as a rotational cornerback in the Chargers defense, Davis took hold of a starting job and didn’t relinquish it. Not until this preseason, that is. With the free agent additions of Bryce Callahan and J.C. Jackson, Davis is facing some serious competition for his starting job. As training camp begins, it appears the Chargers have been running with Jackson and Asante Samuel Jr. on the first-team with Callahan coming in as the first option for nickel packages. It’s great news for the Chargers depth at cornerback, but tough for Davis who hasn’t been a backup since 2018.
  • With wide receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen set to return as quarterback Justin Herbert‘s top two receiving options, the question rises of who comes in as the third receiver. Los Angeles didn’t make any moves to acquire a new receiving threat this offseason, mainly due to the belief they hold that Josh Palmer will make a significant leap in his second NFL season. As a rookie, Palmer caught 33 balls (third-best for receivers on the team) for 353 yards (fourth-best for receivers on the team). The Chargers will continue to use running back Austin Ekeler‘s receiving abilities in the passing game and, after losing Jared Cook to free agency, they brought in Gerald Everett to start at tight end. But they hope to see Palmer really step up as a wide out so that they can terrorize opposing defenses with a three-headed monster of a receiving corps.

Chargers To Sign DT Sebastian Joseph-Day

Sebastian Joseph-Day is switching teams, but he won’t have to move all that far. The former Rams defensive tackle is signing with the Chargers, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter).

It’s a three-year deal worth $24MM, including $15MM in guaranteed money.

The 2018 sixth-round pick had spent his entire career with the Rams. After being inactive for every game during his rookie campaign, the defensive tackle established himself as a consistent starter between 2019 and 2021. The defensive tackle started 31 games during his sophomore and junior year, and he started another seven games in 2021. He missed the second half of the campaign while dealing with a torn pectoral, but he managed to return in time to play in the Rams’ Super Bowl victory.

In total, he finished last season with 38 tackles, three tackles for loss, and a career-high three sacks.

The Chargers are loading up on defense. The team has been one of the most active teams, adding Khalil Mack, J.C. Jackson, and Austin Johnson.

Chargers To Sign CB J.C. Jackson

3:55pm: The Chargers will get their priority target. Jackson is signing with the Bolts, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This promises to be a monster deal for the young corner, who stands to help a Chargers defense that stumbled down the stretch. The Bolts have been aggressive entering Herbert’s third year, trading for Mack and agreeing to terms with one of the top free agents on the market.

Los Angeles authorized a five-year, $82.5MM contract for Jackson, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The ex-Patriot will see $40MM fully guaranteed, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The Bolts did not need to give Jackson top-five corner money, it turns out. This checks in as the NFL’s sixth-highest cornerback pact. To entice Jackson, the Chargers have agreed to give him $28MM in the deal’s first year, Rapoport adds (on Twitter).

3:32pm: As expected, J.C. Jackson has received widespread interest during the legal tampering period. The Chargers are among the Pro Bowl cornerback’s suitors, and NFL.com’s Mike Giardi tweets the team has made an offer.

The Patriots made a somewhat surprising decision not to use their franchise tag on Jackson, who has intercepted an NFL-most 25 passes since coming into the league in 2018. Months after trading Stephon Gilmore, the Pats could lose another standout cover man.

Previously reported to have interest in Jackson, the Bolts can be aggressive this offseason. They entered free agency in the top five in cap space and have Justin Herbert tied to a rookie contract through at least 2022. Los Angeles has already added a splashy defender, trading for Khalil Mack last week. With Jackson hitting the open market at 26, it will likely cost close to cornerback-record money to sign him. Jalen Ramsey still tops the corner market at $20MM per year.

At corner, the Chargers have Michael Davis and 2021 second-round pick Asante Samuel Jr. as key returners. Slot man Chris Harris is a free agent.

Pats Re-Sign Veteran DB Devin McCourty

The Patriots are bringing back veteran defensive back Devin McCourty for another season, according to the twins’ joint-Twitter account earlier this evening. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the older twin will be returning on a one-year deal worth $9MM. 

McCourty has started every game he’s ever played for the Patriots. Over his 12-year career, McCourty has appeared in 188 regular season games and 24 playoff games, only missing 5 games throughout his career. While he’s never quite matched the production of his rookie year when he intercepted 7 passes and broke up 17, he has long been a staple in the New England secondary, never failing to secure an interception in a season.

The Patriots tend to play three safeties and two corners on defense a lot of the time. Relying on J.C. Jackson and Jalen Mills to lock down outside receivers, McCourty, Adrian Phillips, and Kyle Dugger are able to roam around and cover based on matchups and formations. The trio of safeties produced 11 interceptions between them, with Dugger coming on strong in his second season. The Patriots would love to see Dugger seamlessly step in when the 34-year-old McCourty decides to hang up the cleats.

With Jackson heading to the open market, the Patriots’ cornerbacks cupboard is looking pretty bare. Behind Mills is third-year corner Joejuan Williams and reserve corner Justin Bethel. McCourty’s experience at corner could be useful, but should be thought of as a last resort, as most corners move to safety in their advanced age, not the other way around. More likely the Patriots will look to the Draft and free agency to fill that hole.

Regardless, the Patriots bring back a leader. A durable one. He may not be able to produce on the field like he did in the 2010’s, but his role as the quarterback of the secondary makes him a valuable addition to the team’s 2022 defense.

Jets To Spend Big On Cornerback?

Jets GM Joe Douglas has stressed the importance of maintaining financial flexibility despite his club’s significant amount of cap space, and Brian Costello of the New York Post hears from several agents that Gang Green is unlikely to be a major player for this year’s top FAs. However, Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (subscription required) are hearing something a bit different.

The ESPN scribes expect Douglas — who needs to demonstrate tangible progress in his fourth year at the top of the Jets’ front office — to make a few high-profile signings. Graziano confirms earlier reports that New York is interested in center Ryan Jensen, and he adds that the Jets are in on 49ers DT D.J. Jones. Tight end and safety are also priorities.

Fowler, meanwhile, reports that the Jets are prepared to “spend big” on a premier cornerback. J.C. Jackson is generally viewed as the best CB available, though Costello says New York is not expected to be involved in the bidding for Jackson. Carlton Davis, whom Spotrac believes is in line for a five-year pact worth roughly $100MM, could be an option after the Bucs opted against putting the franchise tag on him.

The Jets believe that their young collection of corners, which includes recent Day 3 draftees like Bryce Hall, Brandin Echols, and Michael Carter II, have plenty of promise, but they clearly need a true CB1 to anchor the group. Jackson and Davis certainly fit the bill, though signing either player will put a damper on the flexibility that Douglas covets. Plus, as Costello observes, the Jets’ two top-10 draft choices will receive significant upfront signing bonuses, which will further limit the cash that Douglas has to throw around.

The Jets appear to be at least a year away from true contention, but again, Douglas may need to show some improvement to keep his job. That does not mean that he will spend wildly, but it’s probably fair to expect a little more activity than his recent comments on the matter would suggest.