COSTA MESA, Calif. — The Chargers have traded cornerback J.C. Jackson to the New England Patriots, according to multiple reports.
Jackson is returning to the Patriots, whom he played for five seasons after their rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez’s season ended because of a torn labrum.
He was a pro bowler, second-team all-pro, and a Super Bowl Champion with the Patriots. In those five seasons, he intercepted 25 passes and was a ball hawk for them.
The Chargers decided to sign him last offseason to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. He was never the player for the Chargers that he was for the Patriots.
Injuries and frustration can sum up Jackson’s tenure for the Chargers. In 2022, he missed most of training camp due to ankle surgery. Then, when he returned, it was only for a handful of games before suffering a patellar tendon rupture against the Seahawks in week seven.
He returned from the injury this season and was at most of training camp. In the first game against the Dolphins, he had a bad pass interference penalty before halftime and didn’t perform well against Tyreek Hill.
Jackson was part of a rotation with Michael Davis and Asante Samuel Jr. in week two against the Titans, but it didn’t go well. The following week against the Vikings, he was a healthy scratch, which head coach Brandon Staley said was a “coach’s decision.”
That puzzled Jackson.
“I kind of knew what was going on. I’m still confused on why, but like I said, I can’t put my opinion on it. It was the coach’s decision,” Jackson said on Thursday. “I can tell you I’m confused. I don’t know what’s going on, but that’s not the real answer of why I didn’t play last week or why I didn’t start. That’s above me.”
He did suit up against the Raiders but didn’t play a single defensive snap. So, the Chargers decided to send him back to New England.
The Chargers and Patriots are reworking his remaining $9.33 million salary for this season, with New England paying $1.5 million of it and L.A. covering the rest as a signing bonus, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
The Chargers will take a dead cap hit of $11.5 million this season and $18.9 million in 2024, according to Spotrac.
Moving forward, the Chargers will need cornerback help. Davis’ contract expires this offseason, and Samuel Jr. will be in the final year of his rookie deal. They are going to need to focus on this position next offseason.