William Jackson III

William Jackson III: “Blessing” To Leave Bengals

William Jackson III is glad to be done with the Bengals. Now with the Washington Football Team, the standout cornerback says it was a “blessing” to leave Cincinnati.

[RELATED: Washington Adds William Jackson III]

Cincinnati, they got some crude fans, man. You know misery loves company. When nothing (is) going good, everybody’s not doing any good,” Jackson said (via 106.7 The Fan). “(WFT) has been nothing but supportive since Day 1. The Bengals, on the other hand, them dudes – they wonder why they’re not winning. I’m happy I’m out of that thing man. It’s a blessing to get away and I wish them the best, but Washington – let’s go from here.

Jackson spent four up-and-down seasons with the Bengals, but saved his best for last. After a so-so 2019, he notched 45 stops, eleven passes defensed, and one interception in his platform year. Then, he parlayed that into a three-year, $40MM deal to join up with Washington and aid them in their bid to return to the playoffs.

The cornerback drew lots of interest on the open market, but his price tag was too rich for the Bengals’ blood. Instead, they pivoted to former Cowboys cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (at about half the price of Jackson’s deal) and ex-Steeler Mike Hilton (for just over 50% of WJIII’s contract).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Washington To Sign William Jackson III

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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A.J. Green Very Unlikely To Be Back With Bengals?

When he last spoke about his future, A.J. Green made it clear he knew there was a chance he was playing his last games in Cincinnati. It sounds like it’s no longer just a chance, it’s a foregone conclusion.

While going through the Bengals’ upcoming free agent class, Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic writes that there’s just a ‘one percent’ chance of Green coming back. “The hope for all involved is Green can resurrect his remarkable career. It just won’t be in Cincinnati,” he writes. This isn’t exactly a shock, as this has been the direction things have been trending, and there was even some speculation back in October that he wanted to be traded although the wideout denied it.

If it is indeed the end, the fourth overall pick of the 2011 draft had an incredible run in Cincy. He’s set all sorts of franchise records while making seven Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams. He had a reduced role this past season, catching only 47 passes for 523 yards in 16 games. Now 32, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of interest he gets on the open market.

Although he doesn’t treat it with nearly as much certainty, Dehner also doesn’t think cornerback William Jackson III is too likely to return. He thinks one or more teams will be willing to give him a big contract and “the Bengals won’t be one of them.” Jackson has started at least 13 games in each of the past three seasons, and had 11 pass breakups in 2020.

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Bengals Rejected Trades For William Jackson III

With one year left on his contract, Bengals cornerback William Jackson III is hoping to take off his fantastic blazer and stay a while. The University of Houston product tells Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle that he wants to sign a multi-year extension with the only NFL team he’s ever known.

[RELATED: Bengals’ Jessie Bates Hires New Agent]

They picked up my fifth-year option, so that was a blessing,” said Jackson. “I just go out there and have fun and let everything play out. I love it in Cincinnati. I’m comfortable. They’ve got a great coaching staff and great teammates around me. I would love to come back. Right now, I’m just focused and ready to get the season started. One thing you can control is when people aren’t watching is what you do. I come in, put the work in and it will pay off on Sundays.”

It’s not clear whether the two sides have gotten deep into talks, but they’ve probably been delayed due to the pandemic. It does sound like the Bengals intend to keep him, however. Last year, they picked up the former first-rounder’s fifth-year option for 2020, worth $9.6MM. And, before October’s trade deadline, the Bengals received and rejected trade inquiries on Jackson from other clubs.

The lightning-fast corner was slowed by a shoulder injury towards the end of the year and placed on injured reserve. The recovery was painful, but Jackson says he’s now “fully healthy and ready to go” as he enters his walk year.

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Bengals To Place William Jackson III On IR

Bengals cornerback William Jackson will finish the year on the injured reserve list. The team is expected to shut Jackson down this week so that he can start rehabbing his injured shoulder, as Geoff Hobson of the team website tweets

Jackson, 27, has recorded 37 stops and one interception in 14 games (13 starts) this season. Unfortunately, the shoulder injury that forced him out of the Bengals’ narrow loss to the Dolphins last week will also keep him from playing in the season finale against the Browns.

Jackson kept a lid on Odell Beckham Jr. in the team’s Week 14 matchup against Cleveland, but the Bengals will have to find coverage help elsewhere as they aim for their second win of 2019. Whether they win or lose, the Bengals will own the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft, so they have that to look forward to, at least.

Jackson, the No. 24 overall pick in the 2016 draft, is set to play out 2020 on his fifth-year option, which will carry a $9.594MM cap number. His salary is guaranteed for injury, so he’ll be secure regardless of what happens from here.

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Bengals Activate CB Darqueze Dennard

After a long hiatus, Darqueze Dennard is ready to return for the Bengals. The team, which re-signed the former first-round cornerback in March, activated him on Friday, Ben Baby of ESPN.com tweets.

Dennard will take Cordy Glenn‘s roster spot, with the Bengals having suspended their left tackle. This will provide a key cornerback reinforcement for the 0-6 team, especially with both Dre Kirkpatrick and William Jackson III out against the Jaguars.

Prior to re-upping with the Bengals, Dennard underwent a left knee surgery that was believed to be minor at the time. But he ended up missing the first six games of the season, due to the stay on Cincinnati’s PUP list.

The Bengals re-signed Dennard, their 2014 first-round pick, to a one-year deal worth $4.5MM. He will now have a chance to make an impression in another contract year.

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Bengals’ William Jackson To Miss Time

The hits just keep on comin’ for the Bengals. Cornerback William Jackson is expected to miss at least a few weeks with a shoulder injury, a source tells Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

This news comes on the heels of Dre Kirkpatrick‘s knee injury, which will likely cost him a month of time. This also comes on the heels of yet another Bengals loss, dropping them to 0-6 on the year. Meanwhile, the club continues to keep its fingers crossed for wide receiver A.J. Green, who may or may not be a trade candidate leading up to the deadline.

Back to Jackson – the former first-round pick has started in 22 straight games for the Bengals. While he allowed 38 catches last year and doesn’t rank among the league’s top CBs, the Bengals can ill afford to lose a starter at this time.

One silver lining for the Bengals: Darqueze Dennard is set to return from the PUP list. But, even in a best-case scenario, this appears to be a lost season for the Bengals.

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Bengals Pick Up William Jackson’s Option

The Bengals have exercised their fifth-year option on cornerback William Jackson, according to a team announcement. The additional year keeps him under control through 2020, though it is guaranteed for injury only. 

Chosen with the No. 24 overall pick in 2016, Jackson missed his entire rookie year due to injury. In his re-do year, he mostly served as a backup. However, he started in all 16 of the Bengals’ games last year and tallied 41 tackles. For his work, Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 26th best cornerback in the entire NFL, despite the fact that he did not record a single interception.

Jackson is just the latest 2016 first-round pick to have his fifth-year option exercised. To keep track of every decision, check out PFR’s running list, which will be updated between now and the May 3 deadline.

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Bengals Pick RB Cedric Peerman For Return

The Bengals announced that they have designated running back Cedric Peerman to return. Teams only get one IR-DTR move per season, so today’s news means that we will not see rookie cornerback William Jackson III take the field this season. Cedric Peerman (Vertical)

So far this year, the Bengals’ secondary has been lackluster, leading some to believe that Jackson would get the nod. However, the team is also hurting in the third facet of the game. Peerman is a special teams stalwart for Cincinnati and the Bengals decided that they would benefit more from having him on the field than the young Houston product.

When Rams quarterback Jared Goff made his debut earlier this month, Jackson was the only 2016 first-round pick who was still waiting to take the field. Now, he has solidified the unfortunate distinction. Jackson will turn his focus to 2017 when he hopes to propel the Bengals’ defense with his exceptional speed.

At 3-6-1, the Bengals are not likely to make the playoffs, but they also haven’t been mathematically eliminated. After losing Giovani Bernard for the season and losing A.J. Green for multiple games, the Bengals are sending a message today that they are not giving up on 2016.

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AFC North Notes: Bengals, Jackson III, Ravens

The Bengals haven’t yet made a decision on which player they will bring back from injured reserve, as Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com writes. Cincinnati has two options for IR/return — first-round cornerback William Jackson III and veteran running back Cedric Peerman — and both are “essentially healthy,” per Terrell, meaning the Bengals are simply biding their time before choosing between the two.

“Obviously the first-round pick is an asset, and you want to get him involved,” said head coach Marvin Lewis. “We’ve had him all year since he’s been back from Houston and since the surgery, so to keep him invested in the football team.” The Bengals’ secondary has been below-average, meaning Jackson — who will the only 2016 first-rounder who hasn’t seen the field after Jared Goff starts for the Rams tomorrow — would be a welcome option. But Cincinnati’s sub-par special teams unit is missing its ace in Peerman, making the decision between the pair all the more difficult.

Here’s more on the Bengals and the rest of the AFC North:

  • Defensive tackle Brandon Thompson will return to practice next week, said Lewis, opening a three-week window during which the Bengals can choose to transfer Thompson from the PUP list to the active roster. Thompson suffered a torn ACL in the 2015 season finale after spending the year as a reserve, appearing in nine games and acting as a run-stuffer. If Cincinnati doesn’t opt to active Thompson in the next three weeks, he’ll either need to stay on PUP for the rest of season or be waived.
  • Because Crockett Gillmore is dealing with an injury, the Ravens have continually added a tight end to their practice squad in recent weeks to ensure that they have enough bodies for practice sessions, as Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun notes (all Twitter links). Quarterback David Fales has been the victim in such scenarios, having been repeatedly dropped from the taxi squad to create room for a tight end. That series of transactions will likely end next week, per Zrebiec, as TE Nick Boyle will be eligible to return from a 10-game PED suspension.
  • The Steelers made a number of moves earlier today, placing wide receiver Markus Wheaton and defensive end Cameron Heyward on injured reserve while activating edge rusher Bud Dupree from IR and promoting running back Daryl Richardson from the practice squad.
  • Yesterday, Browns head coach Hue Jackson said it would be a “coup” if Cleveland could retain recently-acquired linebacker Jamie Collins, and also indicated that quarterback Robert Griffin III would begin practicing next week.