Controversial Patriot Could Return to New England After All

There's bad news for Patriots fans hoping that they saw the last of J.C. Jackson. It turns out the veteran cornerback returning to New England for the 2024 campaign is still a real possibility.

There's reportedly mutual interest in a reunion between the Patriots and CB J.C. Jackson.
There's reportedly mutual interest in a reunion between the Patriots and CB J.C. Jackson. / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Before the 2024 NFL free agency period opened, the New England Patriots opted to release cornerback J.C. Jackson on March 1 to free up just over $14.3 million in cap space. It was a deal that many saw coming considering how awful the veteran defender was since being traded back to Foxboro from the Los Angeles Chargers last season.

But for any Patriots fans hoping they saw the last of Jackson, NFL insider Jeremy Fowler had some bad news to share on Wednesday.

Patriots Rumors: New England Shares Mutual Interest in JC Jackson Return

According to Fowler, Jackson and the Patriots share a "mutual interest" when it comes to a 2024 return. A deal likely isn't imminent considering that the ESPN reporter added that it might be a "down-the-line development" and that it may not happen until later in the offseason.

If Jackson returns to New England for the upcoming season, you can bet that a good chunk of the fanbase won't be thrilled.

The 28-year-old's second stint with the Patriots was disastrous at best. According to Pro Football Focus, Jackson was targeted 63 times, allowing 35 receptions for 515 passing yards and five touchdowns. His 30.8 coverage grade also ranked dead last among CBs who played at least 150 passing downs.

And even if you ignore his poor on-field play, he was a distraction away from the gridiron. He was benched when the Patriots faced the Washington Commanders after missing curfew. His lack of reliability also resulted in the team leaving him in New England when the Pats traveled to Germany to face the Indianapolis Colts.

I understand that Jackson was an All-Pro defender "only" three years ago, but it's starting to look like he'll never return to that level. It's likely in the Patriots' best interest to stay away from him — especially if they want to begin the Jerod Mayo era without any drama.

Time will tell if the Patriots decide to give Jackson another chance. If the former Pro Bowl CB does return, hopefully, he will keep the distractions to a minimum and turn his on-field play around.

Otherwise, his next performance could be even worse than the last.

More New England Patriots news and rumors: