Why isn't the NFL's interceptions leader among the 74 cornerbacks listed on the 2021 NFL Pro Bowl ballot?
You may want to ask the New England Patriots that question.
Cornerback J.C. Jackson leads the NFL with six interceptions and has recorded a pick in five straight games. When Pro Bowl voting opened Tuesday night, though, Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty were the only two Patriots cornerbacks listed on the ballot.
But if Jackson is getting snubbed, the snubber apparently is his own team.
According to this NFL spokesman, it was the Patriots' decision to nominate Gilmore and McCourty over Jackson.
Reporter Jason Cole added a sly reminder that Jackson will be a restricted free agent next season, and if he makes the Pro Bowl, New England likely will have to give him a pay raise.
So, is this an inside job? Gilmore deserves a nomination as the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and McCourty has been solid in coverage this season. Jackson also had a rough game against the New York Jets two weeks ago.
The 25-year-old otherwise has had a breakout season, though, and currently is Pro Football Focus' 12th-best cornerback in the NFL.
Lest we read too much into this, Jackson can be added to the ballot at any point, as teams can nominate more than two cornerbacks for the Pro Bowl this season, per Cole. The Pro Bowl also won't be played this season, so it's not like Jackson would miss much.
Still, we'd imagine the third-year cornerback would appreciate at least being on the ballot -- especially considering teammate Ryan Izzo (who has all of 10 catches in nine games this season) made the list.
UPDATE (10:10 a.m. ET): A Patriots spokesperson addressed why the team didn't put Jackson on the ballot Wednesday morning.
"We listed the two cornerbacks who have started the most games at cornerback and who have the longest tenure, Jason McCourty (9) and Stephon Gilmore (6). If we could list a third CB, we would have listed JC Jackson (4) or Jonathan Jones (6), but you asked to list the 11 defensive starters."
UPDATE (11:30 a.m.): New England plans to remedy this situation by adding Jackson to the Pro Bowl ballot, per the Boston Herald's Andrew Callahan.