The New England Patriots' depth and talent at cornerback took a major hit Monday when it was reported J.C. Jackson had agreed to a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Chargers in NFL free agency.
Jackson's deal with the Chargers, per ESPN's Adam Schefter, includes $40 million in guaranteed money. It's a huge payday for Jackson, who entered the free agent market as the No. 1 or No. 2 cornerback available, depending on how you view Carlton Davis.
The contract cannot become official until the new league year begins Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.
The Patriots have lost two No. 1 cornerbacks in the last six months. They traded Stephon Gilmore to the Carolina Panthers in October and now have seen Jackson depart. New England doesn't have a true No. 1 cornerback on its roster at the moment, and there isn't one left in free agency. Maybe the Patriots have to dip into the trade market and pursue someone like James Bradberry of the New York Giants.
Here's who the Patriots have left at cornerback following Jackson's exit.
- Jonathan Jones
- Jalen Mills
- Myles Bryant
- Joejuan Williams
- Shaun Wade
Jones missed 10 games due to injury last season, while Bryant missed four games and Wade played in only three. Williams played in 12 games and failed to impress.
The Patriots absolutely need to upgrade at cornerback this offseason, and the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft might be the best place to acquire an impact player.