How WFT's addition of CB Jackson defies conventional thinking

William Jackson III

When a defense assembles a quality assortment of pass rushers, the conventional thinking is that group can then skimp when it comes to building out its cornerback depth chart.

With a bunch of guys able to get after a quarterback like that, people say, even average defensive backs will thrive!

Well, by making a serious addition late Tuesday night, Ron Rivera showed that he doesn't necessarily agree with that philosophy.

According to Adam Schefter, the Burgundy and Gold came to terms with former Bengals corner William Jackson III. Jackson's contract spans three years, comes with $26 million guaranteed and could be worth up to $42 million in all. 

In other words, Rivera didn't skimp.

Once Washington lost Ronald Darby to the Broncos on Monday, they found themselves in need of another defensive starter, one who could play on the boundary. And to replace Darby, they could've gone with a number of cheap options and/or picked someone up on a one-year deal.

After all, why commit too much when Jack Del Rio boasts a defensive line that consists of two frightening defensive ends and a host of interior studs?

But instead of taking that route, Washington chose to upgrade, as opposed to merely backfill, the void left by Darby. Now, between Jackson and Kendall Fuller, the Burgundy and Gold employ two CBs whose contracts have an average annual value that is $10 million or more. Again, there's no bargain-shopping going on.


That could have tremendous consequences for the defense overall.

As both Rivera and Del Rio stated a few times in 2020, a unit becomes special when the pass rush and the coverage are in sync. That wasn't always the case a season ago; while the collective operation finished favorably in the league-wide stat columns, there were plenty of instances where the secondary surrendered game-changing completions when Chase Young and Co. couldn't get home.

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Hopefully, with Jackson — who some view as a No. 1 cornerback in his own right — such breakdowns won't be occurring at such a poor rate in the future. He wasn't known for creating a lot of turnovers in Cincy, yet he's got elite physical tools, is joining a scheme known for getting the most out of players at his position and will absolutely benefit from the offensive line maulers who he'll be sharing a uniform with. Fuller will also enjoy Jackson's presence, as will the D-line.

What makes this move so exciting is that Rivera and Washington could've plugged the hole on their roster with an adequate-to-good name and most would've had no problem with it. 

However, the team's decision makers opted to go far above that bar, and they ended up with a 28-year-old former first-rounder whose best personal days should be ahead of him. In turn, that should lead to other defenders having plenty of success with Jackson in the fold, too.