The Chargers haven't used cornerback J.C. Jackson in recent weeks, and now they may never use him again. Weeks after the former All-Pro by Los Angeles benching him, Jackson has been traded to the Patriots, rejoining his original team in a swap of late-round draft picks, as CBS Sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones confirmed.
The Chargers and Patriots have swapped sixth- and seventh-round picks in 2025 to facilitate the deal, according to NFL Media.
The move comes just a year and a half after Jackson left the Patriots to sign a five-year, $82.5 million deal with Los Angeles in free agency. It also marks the end of an especially tumultuous stint with the Chargers. An ankle injury delayed Jackson's 2022 debut, and he was benched weeks into his first season with L.A., later suffering a season-ending patellar tendon injury. He struggled while back in the starting lineup to open 2023, then was deactivated for Week 3 and saw zero snaps in Week 4.
Jackson also had ain late September due to a 2021 criminal speeding violation.
He thrived in his previous stint with the Patriots, who originally signed him as an undrafted rookie in 2018, totaling 25 interceptions in four seasons, including a league-leading nine in 2020. New England could thrust him right back into the starting lineup, thanks to a rash of injuries in its secondary, with Christian Gonzalez, Jonathan Jones, Marcus Jones and Jack Jones all banged up.
The Chargers and Patriots will square off in Week 13 later this season.
Here's how we grade the trade:
Chargers: No, Jackson wasn't factoring into L.A.'s defense, but can we at least partially attribute that to a coaching staff that's consistently failed to get the most from its talent? The fact they're selling low on a former All-Pro cover man less than two years after paying him lucrative money is a bigger indictment on the process than the player. Sunk cost or not, it's hard to celebrate them swapping late-rounders two years down the road just to unload Jackson. Trade Grade: D
Patriots: Is Jackson worth his big-money deal right now? Absolutely not. Is he a safe bet to revert closer to his peak form back in the confines of Bill Belichick's New England defense? Absolutely yes. With Christian Gonzalez sidelined for the rest of the year, this is the definition of a low-risk, high-reward quick fix. Jackson gives the Pats an experienced cover man who knows and thrived in the system, and they're hardly losing draft capital to welcome him back. Trade Grade: B+