BOSTON -- A few weeks ago, with rookie Christian Gonzalez done for the year and with second-year cornerback Marcus Jones also injured, the Patriots were in a tough spot with their secondary. So Bill Belichick went out and brought J.C. Jackson back to Foxboro. It only cost a late-round pick swap -- the least a team can give up in a trade -- to get it done, with the Chargers agreeing to pay the bulk of the veteran corner's salary.
Clearly, the Chargers were eager to get rid of the man to whom they had given a five-year, $82.5 million contract just one year prior. Now, a few details have emerged on why that was the case.
ESPN's Kris Rhim reported some details of Jackson's departure from Los Angeles on Monday. Some of the details -- like Jackson refusing to tie his cleats and enter a game in the second half for the Chargers in Week 4 -- had been known. Some new information was presented, though:
--Chargers general manager entered a defensive backs meeting and apologized to the group for making the wrong decision by signing Jackson. "He apologized for continuing to give Jackson opportunities, despite Jackson routinely showing that he wasn't as committed as the rest of the team while being one of the Chargers' highest paid players," Rhim wrote.
--Jackson reportedly "practiced with a 'lackadaisical' attitude and didn't respond well to coaching."
--With Justin Herbert playing in that Week 4 game with a broken finger, Jackson's refusal to enter the game "was the final straw for the Chargers."
----Jackson was inactive for the Chargers' Week 3 game against the Vikings because he "had fallen out of the organization's good graces." The report said "Jackson had been approaching practice and meetings without a 'sense of urgency,' team sources said. He didn't respond well to Chargers defensive coaches who reprimanded him the same way they did others for missed assignments or calls, team sources said."
Obviously, the Chargers' willingness to give up on Jackson so early in his second year with the team spoke volumes about how poorly they believed things were working out with the cornerback. Yet the details help illuminate exactly why that was the case.
Since returning to New England, Jackson played the majority of the team's defensive snaps in his second and third games, but his snap percentage dropped to 68 percent in each of the past two games. He sat out the team's first two defensive series on Sunday, and The Athletic's Jeff Howe reported that Jackson and Jack Jones had been benched due to "recent performance issues."
With a thin cornerback depth chart, the Patriots can't afford to sit Jackson for much more time than they did on Sunday. Nevertheless, it will at least raise antennae around the team that the issues Jackson had in L.A. could be resurfacing in Foxboro.
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