The New England Patriots had one of the best secondary groups throughout the NFL last season. Lead by an All-Pro cornerback in Stephon Gilmore along with one of the league’s best free-range safeties in Devin McCourty, the Patriots secondary is their biggest strength. However, that dominance has come with a hefty price tag for New England. Collectively, New England has just under 43 million cap dollars distributed amongst players such as Patrick Chung, Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips, Jonathan Jones, and J.C. Jackson.
Jackson carries the lowest cap hit of the group as he is entering the final year of a three-year contract which will make him a restricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2020 season. Given New England’s secondary depth in conjunction with their current cap spending and needs at other positions, it is very possible that Jackson could be moved before the start of this season.
New England Patriots Trades: J.C. Jackson
Jackson’s Trade Value
Jackson has been one of the most underrated players in the NFL since entering the league and has largely been overshadowed by other big names on the Patriots defense. According to Pro Football Focus, since 2017 Jackson has allowed the lowest completion percentage, including postseason, among all NFL corners (49.6%). Comparably, Gilmore was ranked third under the same criteria, allowing a 50% completion rate and Los Angeles Chargers cornerback, Casey Hayward, ranked fifth allowing a 51% completion rating.
Moreover, Jackson is coming off a phenomenal 2019 season in which he dominated offenses when defending deep passes. Again, from Pro Football Focus, when being targeted over 20 yards Jackson tallied five interceptions while giving up zero touchdowns and allowed just two catches for 42 yards on 18 targets. In today’s pass-happy NFL, the 24-year-old Jackson has become a proven commodity and one which teams will pay a lot for on the open market.
The Cardinals secondary struggled much of last season as they gave up the second-most touchdown receptions throughout the league. Additionally, Arizona allowed 72 receptions of 20 or more yards, a number which lead the league. After electing to bolster their linebacking core this past spring by selecting Isaiah Simmons in the first round, Arizona still has a strong need at corner. The Cardinals could offer a trade package centered around their 2017 former first-round linebacker, Haason Reddick. Reddick has failed to reach his potential thus far, but the 25-year-old 6-foot-1 230-pound Temple alum would slot in nicely with New England as he brings size, range, and youth to a rebuilding Patriots linebacking core.
Jacksonville is another team on the rebuilding path and after parting ways with corners Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, the Jaguars are in need of secondary help. Fortunately, positions where New England lacks a surplus of talented players, the Jaguars have depth at. Jacksonville could put together a trade package centered around receiver Dede Westbrook, or defensive tackle Taven Bryan.
Westbrook, a 26-year-old 6-foot 180-pound wideout, has had his highs and lows throughout his career. Westbrook’s best season came during 2018 when he tallied 66 receptions for 717 yards and five touchdowns along with adding nine rushing attempts for 98 yards. Westbrook is entering the final year of his contract and could be a good fit in this offense. Bryan, a 24-year-old 6-foot-5 291-pound former first-rounder is another option for the Patriots. He failed to reach his full potential in Jacksonville and with just two years in the league, a change of scenery could do his development wonders. Bryan would bring versatility and toughness to New England’s defensive front as well as bringing a contract with multiple years of team control left.
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