Patriots in a difficult position with JC Jackson joining free agency – CBS Boston

Via Michael HurleyCBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) – When it comes to full-back, Bill Belichick has a long history of valuing it very high and is ready to say goodbye to some of the top performers. It’s that history, combined with the Patriots’ current picture of defense, that makes the upcoming decision on JC Jackson so compelling.

Jackson, by all means, will make a lot of money. He is a free agent at the age of 26. He has had 17 passes over the past two seasons. He hasn’t missed a game since 2018. He leads the league in pass defense this season with 23, and he’s achieved a career high of 44 solos. and 58 tackles in total. He already has the top five PFF points, and he will be among the top three in the free agency market – along with Carlton Davis and Stephon Gilmore.

But will he get that big payday from the Patriots?

The initial trend is rejection. Although Jackson’s playing skills are undeniable, he is not a full-back. While he clearly has no problem with his picks this season, the reality is that the Patriots were able to make the most of his talents better when they had Stephon Gilmore locked up the receiver. No. 1. That’s when Jackson is being maximized.

When Jackson had to take on that No. 1 full-back role, the results were inconsistent. That was evident in the Patriots’ embarrassing loss to Buffalo, when Stefon Diggs once again got the better corners.

That doesn’t make Jackson a bad full-back. Nothing.

One does not find themselves at the top of such a list without becoming a world-class athlete with some baffling instincts.

The question patriots must ask is whether Jackson is the type of player the team has opened up to in the past.

Team did threw large sums of money on Gilmore as a freelance agent, and paid a hefty price for a year of Darrelle Revis’ services. The team was happy to get Malcolm Butler – who, like Jackson, rose from a lousy rookie to a top freelancer – out the door. Going back to ancient history, Bill Belichick didn’t pay to keep Ty Law back after his injury-shortened 2004 season, choosing to go with younger duo Asante Samuel and rookie Ellis Hobbs.

Its over there that perhaps the best comparison can be found for Jackson. Asante Samuel has great dribbling skills and always tries to be in the right place at the right time to make game-changing interceptions. His technique is not perfect, he takes a lot of risks, but he also produces. Samuel also won a Super Bowl during his rookie season, just like Jackson did.

When it came time to pay Samuel after 10 interceptions leading the NFL season in 2006, the Patriots balked, choosing instead to put the franchise card on him. Camp Samuel wasn’t thrilled about it, and eventually an agreement was signed which stated that Samuel would play out the 2007 season on the franchise card, with the Patriots agreeing not to use the card again. in 2008.

It was a good deal for both sides, with Samuel starting 16 regular games of the season and all three playoffs for New England (although His last act in the Patriots uniform is unfortunate) before making a big buck from the Eagles.

That unconventional setup probably won’t appear for the Patriots this time around, and it’s also fair to wonder how the team feels about paying Jackson $17.5 million for a franchise-tag season. With limited space limit – under $4 million at the moment, according to Salary cap of patriots, Miguel Benzan fansalthough the team will certainly find some extra space – dedicating the 1st corner amount to a corner more of a category 1A might not be necessary.

At the same time, without Jackson, the Patriots subgroup looks pretty normal. The return of Jonathan Jones will help, but he has been at his best in the corner kick role, with Gilmore and Jackson being the traditional full-backs outside. Jalen Mills was fine but was unsuccessful in his first season in New England, but lacked depth. Perhaps Myles Bryant will follow in the footsteps of a Butler or Jackson-like figure into a lead role, but that of course requires some wishful thinking. And the depth of tension was so intense that year-end Joejuan Williams, Justin Bethel and De’Vante Bausby all had to feature in a playoff loss to Buffalo.

The corner cupboard wasn’t stocked correctly in New England. This only makes the predicament more complicated for all involved.

Already in demand in payers and receivers, will the Patriots pay a premium to avoid adding corners to that list? The answer to that question would have to be where the season begins for Bill Belichick. Patriots in a difficult position with JC Jackson joining free agency – CBS Boston

Dustin Huang

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