After trading a second and future sixth-round pick for Khalil Mack, the LA Chargers made an even splashier move this offseason by signing the top cornerback on the market, J.C. Jackson. Jackson has been one of the best corners in the league over the last two years and is still only 26 years old.
Despite being the top cornerback on the market, the Chargers were actually able to sign Jackson for a relatively team-friendly price that was lower than many people were expecting. The Pro Bowl corner signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal with $40 million guaranteed. Jackson's year one cap hit is only $8 million and the Bolts could get out of the fifth year of the deal with only $5 million in dead cap if needed.
There is no denying that the Chargers got Jackson at an excellent price and his contract continues to get better and better with the more cornerbacks that sign new deals. On Monday, the Cleveland Browns made Denzel Ward the highest-paid cornerback in the league with a five-year, $100.5 million extension.
There is no denying that Ward is a great cornerback but he is not on a higher level than Jackson. In fact, many would agree that Jackson is the better corner, although Ward is a bit younger at 24 years old. After Ward's contract, Jackson now becomes the eighth-highest paid cornerback in the league in terms of average annual value.
J.C. Jackson's contract is a reminder of Tom Telesco's savviness as Chargers general manager.
The opinion on Tom Telesco is split among the fanbase but one thing is for certain, the guy knows what he is doing with contracts. Not only are the Chargers structuring contracts in a way that makes so much sense with the cap set to spike over the next two years, but the team is not afraid to pay players knowing that they are getting them at a great price.
Jackson should be one of the five highest-paid corners in the league and instead, he is eighth. By the time the 2023 season rolls around with the jump in cap space, he may not even be top 10. The Chargers were savvy in getting ahead of paying him before the market was established.
The same can be said for Mike Williams. Some fans freaked out at the notion of paying Mike Williams $20 million a year but in reality, it was great business for the team. Williams is the seventh-highest paid receiver in the league in terms of AAV but he too will fall outside of the top 10 when new contracts are given out. Just look at Deebo Samuel, DK Metcalf and Terry McLaurin, all are due new extensions soon and are on the trade block as a result.
Plus, Williams' deal is essentially a two-year deal that has a relatively cheap out of $7 million in year three if things do not go as planned. Compare that to the four-year, $72 million contract that Christian Kirk signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Chargers look genius.