Is He Already A Free Agent Bust? | Chargers High-Priced Cornerback J.C. Jackson Feels “Defeated” After Being Benched Against Broncos Monday Night

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Albert Haynesworth, Demarco Murray, and Nnamdi Asomugha. What do these players all have in common?

They were all once superstars in the NFL, free agents who signed massive contracts to make a major impact on their new team — and they flopped. They are some of the worst free agent signings in history, and while the 2022 NFL season is young, it’s looking like Los Angeles Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson will be the latest member to join that miss list.

According to Jackson, he feels “defeated” after a lackluster start to the season — 13 tackles, one pass defended, a benching in a Monday night game — and this doesn’t look like the type of start a Pro Bowl caliber defensive back would be having. It definitely isn’t the season you’d pay someone $82 million for. 

You can’t call Jackson a bust after just six games, but he has not been making a good case for himself as the cornerback signing that sparked the football world during the offseason.

Jackson only has one pass deflection, and in his latest game against the Broncos on Monday, Jackson may have hit an all-time low when he was benched mid-game for his poor performance. He ultimately only played 26 of 58 defensive snaps for the Chargers on Monday.

The former Super Bowl champion allowed a 39-yard touchdown pass after he blew his coverage, and then followed that miscue up with a 47-yard catch allowed after getting torched by the receiver. Chargers head coach Brandon Staley all but threw his cornerback to the wolves when he admitted that both of those catches were his fault and that he wasn’t helping the team win, which was why he was benched. 

“It just wasn’t good enough in the first half and we felt like we needed to make a change.” Staley said, per Chargers Wire. 

Jackson understood why he was benched, and instead of having a stark reaction to the benching, he was more so frustrated about not being able to perform how he normally can. 

“It’s hard, and it’s very disappointing knowing what I can do, and I’m not able to do it,” Jackson said told reporters this week. “I’m not really playing to my full potential; it’s kind of upsetting.”

Not playing to his full potential is understandable, given that the former undrafted free agent is several games removed from a previous ankle injury that sidelined him for the first two games of the season. 

J.C. Jackson is coming off of his best season as an NFL player with the New England Patriots where he was an All-Pro, and Pro-Bowl selection, recorded eight interceptions, and produced a league-leading 23 pass deflections.

He was the highly coveted defensive prize in free agency, and multiple teams were willing to break the bank to pay Jackson to come to be their No. 1 cornerback and lock down opposing teams’ top receivers. When the Chargers won the bidding war, the organization signed Jackson to the massive five-year, $82.5M contract.

This was a move that was supposed to elevate the Chargers to Super Bowl contenders. So far it hasn’t worked out like Jackson or the Chargers envisioned.

Regardless of how bad Jackson has been this year, the Chargers aren’t ready to give up on him yet. He is set to start against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 7, and Staley says they still will be looking for his impact.

“We’re going to make sure that we stay patient with him because he has all of the tools that we’re looking for,” Staley said according to NBC Sports. 

Hopefully, the 26-year-old cornerback can find his footing with the Chargers. Nothing is guaranteed in the NFL.