In October, the Los Angeles Chargers traded cornerback to J.C. Jackson to the New England Patriots, 17 months after signing him to a five-year, $82.5 million contract.
After the trade, general manager Tom Telesco apologized to Chargers defensive backs for giving Jackson the opportunity and called the contract a mistake. That's according to ESPN's Kris Rhim, who reported details of Jackson's tumultuous tenure and exit with with the Chargers in a story published Monday.
The Chargers signed Jackson as a free agent in March of 2022. He'd just finished his fourth NFL season with the Patriots and earned his first All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. He led the league with 23 passes defended in 2021 and had tallied 17 interceptions over the course of the previous two seasons.
The Chargers brought Jackson in as part of a larger upgrade of their defense that included a trade to acquire defensive end Khalil Mack to bookend the four-time All-Pro opposite Pro Bowl edge rusher Joey Bosa. The Chargers expected Jackson to be a high-end No. 1 cornerback who would cover opponents' top receivers in a secondary that already featured All-Pro safety Derwin James.
Instead, Jackson played a total of seven games with the Chargers and found himself as a healthy scratch in September when Los Angeles faced the Minnesota Vikings and All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Less than two weeks later, the Chargers traded Jackson to the Patriots team he'd previously played for.
Jackson recorded a single interception with the Chargers. He missed 14 games with injuries, including a ruptured patellar tendon that ended his first season in Los Angeles after Week 7. He was a healthy scratch for his final two games in Los Angeles. Telesco called the signing "a swing and a miss" in his meeting with Chargers defensive backs, Rhim reports.
Per sources cited in Rhim's report, Jackson has a "lackadaisical" approach to practice and didn't respond well to coaching. He was benched during Week 6 of his first season in Los Angeles for poor play against the Denver Broncos.
He refused to enter a Week 4 game this season against the Las Vegas Raiders in the fourth quarter after being benched for the first three, per the report. That was a week after he was inactive against the Vikings and three days before the Chargers traded him back to the Patriots.
Jackson also dealt with legal issues. He was arrested in Massachusetts in 2022 for what officials described as a "non-violent family issue." A Massachusetts court issued a separate arrest warrant for Jackson in September for failure to appear in court for traffic charges.
Since being traded back to New England, Jackson has appeared in all five Patriots games including three starts. He came off the bench in Sunday's loss to the Washington Commanders.