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NFL Draft

3 Teams That Should Offer Sheet JC Jackson

  • The Draft Network
  • March 17, 2021
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If anyone wants to sign cornerback J.C. Jackson away from the New England Patriots, they can. It’ll take a second-round selection and a financial offer too rich for the Patriots—in layman’s terms, any team that signs Jackson to an offer sheet that New England chooses not to match would have to compensate the Patriots with a second-round pick. 

Now, New England could have chosen to place the first-round tender on Jackson, significantly lowering the potential for an outside offer but upping the cash due to him in 2021. With the second-round tender now applied, teams have until April 23 to negotiate a deal with the former undrafted corner. If Jackson decides to sign the tender and stay in New England, he’ll earn $3.3M. 

However, as a restricted free agent, any contract that is offered to Jackson can be matched by New England. If not matched, Jackson is free to sign elsewhere and the Patriots would earn a second-round selection in April’s draft as compensation for Jackson's departure. 

So, with Jackson now free to negotiate, here are three potential landing spots for one of the league’s top ball-hawking corners. 

Chicago Bears

In this scenario, restructuring Kyle Fuller’s $27M deal could be in play. Or, they could save major cash and cut Fuller altogether. The scenario isn’t a welcomed one-for-one involving one of the NFC’s top cover corners, but Jackson could arguably provide the same juice outside as Fuller. It’s a discussion that must be had given the cap implications. Furthermore, Chicago lacked playmakers at the third level of the defense. Don’t get me wrong, there are some pieces there (Fuller and Eddie Jackson), but a third ball-hawking athlete on the backend couldn’t hurt. Jackson had nine picks in 2020, second only to Xavien Howard of the Miami Dolphins. 

Jackson is special when it comes to making plays on the football with elite footwork and a high football IQ. A tough ask in the NFL, Jackson’s game has been headlined by consistency, as he’s recorded at least three picks in each of his first three seasons in the NFL. With Artie Burns and Buster Skrine now on the open market, general manager Ryan Pace should jump to the phone in an attempt to acquire Jackson.

Arizona Cardinals

With Patrick Peterson on the outs, the Cardinals have a glaring need for talent in the secondary room. At free safety, they’re set with Budda Baker, but the addition of Jackson, another youth-inspired talent on the outside to pair with Byron Murphy would provide a jolt within the third level of an Arizona defense that just added J.J. Watt to its pass rush.

Tennessee Titans

Following the surprising release of Adoree’ Jackson, the Titans have a glaring need on the outside with Janoris Jenkins and Kristian Fulton set to start if the season began today.

Tennessee hasn’t been shy thus far in free agency, agreeing to deals with both Bud Dupree and Denico Autry to shore up the front seven, but it’s time the attention turns to the backend following an abysmal year from a secondary that allowed the fourth-most passing yards of any defense in the entire league. 

Jenkins is a nice veteran body, but how much does he truly have left? Following an injury-riddled rookie campaign, Fulton is set to return, but neither has the ceiling and playmaking ability of the former Maryland Terrapin. Although there are high expectations for the 2020 second-rounder in Fulton, he’s unproven, and Jackson right now offers a safer bet on the outside opposite Jenkins.

Coming from New England, Jackson excels in man—Tennessee’s base coverage—and would be allowed to use his length, cover skills, and ball-hawking ability in Shane Bowen’s 3-4 defense.

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