1. The NY Jets could target J.C. Jackson
Last and certainly not least is J.C. Jackson, the most talented cornerback set to hit the open market. Add Jackson to a long list of players that proves Bill Belichick is the best coach of all time. Undrafted out of Florida, Jackson has never had a bad season.
His 2018 rookie campaign was very good, recording a PFF grade of 73.7, and his following seasons were also solid with PFF grades of over 67, culminating in an elite 82.7 this season.
In 2020, Jackson recorded an astonishing nine interceptions, 14 pass deflections, and three fumble recoveries. He followed up that season with eight more interceptions, 23 more pass deflections, and a Pro-Bowl appearance this year.
Another key metric where Jackson has always ranked at the top in the league is passer rating allowed in coverage. Over his career from 2018-2021, Jackson has ranked second, first, sixth, and fourth, respectively, making him indisputably a top corner in this league. Also, over his four years, Jackson has missed just three games, all in his rookie season.
Jackson projects very well for this defense, as he allowed the third-lowest passer rating in zone coverage this past season as of December 17.
An incredible talent, Jackson would also be very expensive. PFF predicts a four-year, $72 million contract, which seems low despite making him the fourth highest-paid cornerback in the league.
As a great cover cornerback who is also a ball hawk, Jackson likely enters next season the highest paid at the position, making over $20 million per year, if the Patriots decide not to use the franchise tag on him.
Although he’s a fantastic player, over $20 million per year for a cornerback is very steep, especially in a scheme that prioritizes pressure over coverage.
Overall, Douglas has a lot of options at cornerback. Whatever his plan may be, the Jets must enter next season with another high-end cornerback if they want their struggling pass defense to improve.