Three-year NFL veteran cornerback J.C. Jackson signed his one-year free-agent tender to remain with the New England Patriots. Jackson, a former undrafted free agent and one-time Super Bowl Champion spent the 2020 season with the Patriots. Jeff Howe first reported the news of the contract. The cornerback was a restricted free agent, and the compensation on an offer sheet from another team would have been a second-round pick.
J.C. Jackson signed his tender as a restricted free agent, per source.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) April 16, 2021
J.C. Jackson, New England Patriots, Agree to Contract
J.C. Jackson is coming off of what is easily the best season of his young career. Earning a full-time starting role opposite Stephon Gilmore, the former undrafted free agent responded admirably to the increased role. Appearing in all 16 games while making 11 starts, he recorded nine interceptions, 40 tackles, one tackle-for-loss, and 14 passes defended. Additionally, his +29.8 coverage rating was the 16th-best mark in the league, while his 71.6 passer rating allowed finished seventh among qualifying cornerbacks.
Jackson initially entered the league as an undrafted free agent. This wasn’t a talent issue, as everyone knew that the cornerback had the potential to be a good player at the next level. However, Jackson had character concerns, highlighted by a possible involvement in an armed robbery, that caused his draft stock to plummet.
Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots decided was worth the risk and signed the talented-but-troubled cornerback following the NFL Draft. The move paid off almost immediately, as the rookie slowly but surely climbed his way up the depth chart. By the time the playoffs came around, Jackson was one of the most important defenders on the eventual Super Bowl champions.
Jackson continued to grow in 2019. Splitting CB2 duties with Jason McCourty, Jackson started to earn a reputation as a ball-hawking defensive back. Overall, he recorded five interceptions and 10 passes defended during the 2019 season. While the Patriots couldn’t make their way back to the Super Bowl, this was New England’s best defense since at least 2004, and the former undrafted free agent played a large role in that success.