The Patriots will not have J.C. Jackson when they travel to Europe for their international matchup against the Colts on Sunday. New England has decided to leave the cornerback stateside as he is not expected to accompany the team to Germany this week due to questions about his reliability, according to NFL Media. The decision was made to have Jackson stay home, get through the Week 11 bye, and return to the team in a better place.
This reported decision by the Patriots comes just days after the club's Week 9 loss to the Commanders. In that game, New England seemed to bench both Jackson and fellow corner Jack Jones for the first few defensive series. Jones missed the entire first quarter, while Jackson sat out the first two series. Bill Belichick declined to acknowledge that it was a benching, but Sports Illustrated reports that Jackson was late to the team hotel on Saturday before that game. That contributed to his benching in and now has him not making the Germany trip in Week 10.
Jackson is in his second stint with the Patriots after the team traded for him last month in a deal with the Los Angeles Chargers. The 27-year-old signed a lucrative five-year, $82.5 million contract with L.A. back in the spring of 2022 and his tenure was a disappointment. So much so that the franchise was willing to cut ties with Jackson just a year into the deal in a trade with New England that was merely a swap of Day 3 draft picks.
Since the trade was executed, it has been reported that Chargers GM Tom Telesco joined the defensive backs meeting andfor the Jackson acquisition, calling the signing a "swing and a miss." That report also included notes about Jackson's poor worth ethic with Los Angeles, so these latest concerns about his reliability do seem to be the latest chapter in Jackson's fall from grace.
During his first stint with the Patriots, Jackson, an undrafted free agent in 2018, ascended to become an All-Pro caliber corner in Belichick's secondary. In his final season before departing in free agency, he was a second-team All-Pro and led the NFL with 23 pass breakups and also recorded eight interceptions. Since then, Jackson has struggled. In his five games since returning to New England, Jackson has allowed a passer rating of 102.6 when targeted by opposing quarterbacks. That play coupled with reliability concerns seems to be the crux of why he's staying put in Foxborough instead of going aboard.
The question now becomes whether or not the Patriots ultimately decide to keep Jackson on the roster. After all, they did not give up much to bring him back and his contract is constructed in such a way that it would have little to no financial impact to them whatsoever. Jackson is also likely to be released (or restructured) at the end of the season anyway with his cap hit at $14.3 million with zero dead cap left. He wasn't worth bringing to Germany and with the Patriots at 2-7 on the year, it stands to wonder if Jackson is worth keeping around at all.