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Parting ways with J.C. Jackson would be another protocol decision for New England

J.C. Jackson
(AP Photo/John Bazemore) Associated Press.

You have probably heard this saying before on numerous occasions when it comes to the personnel moves of the New England Patriots. “Bill Belichick always moves off a player a year too early rather than a year too late. However, can the team continue to operate like this in the post-Tom Brady era?

The franchise is heading into year three without the future hall of fame QB under center. So far, New England has qualified for the postseason in one out of the two years without Brady on the roster. In 2021, their defense resembled some of the great Patriot units that we have witnessed dominate their opponents over the years.

A player that had a huge role in New England’s performance on defense is cornerback J.C. Jackson. Last season, Jackson finished second behind Cowboys corner Trevon Diggs with eight interceptions. Usually, when a player such as Jackson has a dominant year heading into free agency, the team typically prioritizes bringing them back on a new deal.

So far, with Jackson’s situation, that has not been the case. A few days ago, Jackson was interviewed by Patriots Insider Phil Perry, in which he expressed his displeasure in the organization not being aggressive enough on the matter at hand. “I guess they feel like they don’t need me.” “I guess I can’t be that important to them. I know I am, but they’re not showing me,” said Jackson. Here is some of the information that Perry gathered after speaking with numerous coaches currently attending the NFL Combine located in Indianapolis.

“I’ve spoken to coaches who feel like this is not just a priority, this is a necessity, that they keep J.C. Jackson if they want to play the style of defense they’ve played for so long,” Perry said Wednesday on NBC Sports Boston show “Early Edition.” “You have to have, according to these people, at least one legitimate, very capable, man-to-man press cornerback because the style they play requires at least one.

“It could be J.C. Jackson. It could be somebody else, but the problem is there aren’t many avenues to acquire that guy who would be a legitimate replacement for J.C. Jackson. It’s not on the roster, free agency is not loaded at that position, and you might be drafting a guy really early and hoping he can slot in and do the job.” The MMQB’s Albert Breer believes that Jackson’s days in New England are coming to an end.

“It feels to me like this is trending towards (Jackson) being on another team,” Breer said on “Early Edition.” “I think over the next week, or so, they’re going to explore a tag and trade. But it’s starting to feel more, to me, like the way this is trending, if they can’t find some sort of trade that they have set in stone that’s ready to roll when they tag him — I don’t know if they’re going to go forward with the uncertainty of tagging him and maybe getting stuck with that $17 million bill.” Is New England making the right move if they decide to move on from Jackson, especially with QB Josh Allen playing in the division?

As stated by Perry, players such as the level Jackson are not on the market right now, and it could have severe consequences if the void left behind is not filled. However, two cornerbacks could be an option for the Patriots if they choose not to re-sign Jackson. Those two corners are Derek Stingley Jr. and Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner.

The Patriots are currently selected at 22 in this year’s NFL Draft. If they really covet Stingley or Gardner, they move to have up in the draft to make that selection. Coach Belichick may move on from players before it’s too late, but he may have to adjust his way of thinking going forward. Especially when facing Josh Allen two times a year with a quarterback with limitations such as Mac Jones.

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Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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