New England Patriots: J.C. Jackson in for a big contract

CINCINNATI, OHIO - DECEMBER 15: J.C. Jackson #27 of the New England Patriots intercepts a pass during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals in the game at Paul Brown Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - DECEMBER 15: J.C. Jackson #27 of the New England Patriots intercepts a pass during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals in the game at Paul Brown Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Why is New England Patriots best cornerback J.C. Jackson, an NFL star still unsigned to an extension in the final year of his four-year rookie deal?

It’s a legitimate question. In fact, it is appropriate to ask why he wasn’t signed after the 2019 or 2020 season. His contributions were noted earlier.

This isn’t the first time this issue has been raised. But since he’s likely on his way out of Foxborough after the season, it should be again. None of this seems to make any sense whatsoever.

New England Patriots J.C. Jackson deserves a top contract

Close observers may recall that Jackson was another of those Patriots player acquisition specialties, the signing of Undrafted Free Agent (UDFA) defensive backs.

The team, unlike on lots of its high draft picks (unfortunately), actually has a proclivity for finding diamonds in the rough in UDFA and cutting and polishing them into 5-carat stars.

They explode onto the NFL scene, like supernovas, and prove all of the draft evaluators, and other observers completely wrong. Jackson in 2018 was one of them.

After the player excels early, it should be incumbent on the team that stumbles onto such talent to lock them up for the long-term.

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In this case, the New England Patriots completely dropped the ball. Jackson is no ordinary good pickup as a UDFA, quite the opposite. He’s a bonafide NFL star.

His proclivity to do what all NFL teams crave, intercept passes is as good as it gets in the NFL. So why has there been completely obtuse neglect by the Patriots, their football operations head Bill Belichick, and anyone else who makes that kind of decision in Foxborough?

Answer: who the heck knows why they make some of the most absolutely incomprehensible moves and/or non-moves on certain players? If you know, please comment.

New England Patriots J.C. Jackson deserves appreciation, and to get paid

So why should Jackson have been given a contract extension maybe even two years ago? Let’s take a look at the facts.

First, Jackson is one of the pre-eminent ball hawks in the NFL. Let’s excerpt from an article on to illuminate on this subject,

"Jackson’s 22 career interceptions are tied with Hall of Fame cornerback Mike Haynes for the most by any Patriots player through four seasons, per ESPN Stats & Info. So, if Jackson gets one pick in his next eight games, he’ll break Haynes’ record.Jackson leads the NFL in interceptions since he entered the league in 2018, two ahead of first-team All-Pro Xavien Howard."

OK, let’s parse these two nice comments. First, Jackson will likely exceed the interceptions amassed by Mike Haynes in four seasons as a Patriot.

For young readers, Haynes was simply one of the best cornerbacks in history. Period. He’s a Hall-of-Famer to boot. So Jackson will eclipse his record probably this week.

Yet, Haynes, though long before the Kraft/Belichick era (ask Mr. Kraft what he thought about allowing Mike Haynes to leave), was allowed to leave in free agency. That was another of the most foolish Patriot moves ever.

J.C. Jackson has two more career interceptions than Xavien Howard. Howard’s a two-time Pro-Bowler and 2020 first-team All-Pro. The best of the best. Howard’s cap hit this season is $15.185M.

J.C. Jackson’s is $3.384M. These numbers speak for themselves. and someone has some explaining to do. Hello, Patriots bosses!

Why has one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL been shortchanged by the New England Patriots when an extension earlier would have been beneficial to both player and team?

New England Patriots missteps will cost them a likely future Pro Bowler

Looks like the Mike Haynes history will repeat itself sometime around March 16, 2022, unless the Patriots franchise Jackson before that.

That means paying him the average of the top five players at his position. That according to would be $17.426M on the franchise tag and just under $15M on the transition tag. That tag just allows the current team to match any offer.

Either way, if the Patriots really want to keep Jackson, it will cost them a whole lot more than if they had taken the prudent course.

That was rewarding his contributions and locking him up early to a team-friendly contract. Security for the player and the team.

They didn’t, and now the likelihood of his leaving is high, and the likelihood of their replacing him is almost non-existent. Have you seen how well this team drafts defensive backs?

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Let’s just say, not too well. Last big miss, 2nd round, 2019, Joejuan Williams. Since then, he’s had no picks, and little else. Jackson’s contributions to date, 23 interceptions in 56 games. One every 2 games. Pretty good, eh? That’s it. The story is clear.

The New England Patriots for some inexplicable reason don’t pay the players they should. Tom Brady? Check. Steph Gilmore. Check.

And now, a young, uber-talented cornerback, J.C. Jackson, who would likely have been very pleased to have been given a golden opportunity and new contract by the New England Patriots is on the way out.

This is foolishness when he would likely have signed a very team-friendly contract much, much earlier. Sometimes, it’s very difficult to understand these Patriots guys. Don’t you think?