The Los Angeles Chargers were not shy about splashing the cash in the offseason, as they spent a king's ransom in order to bring former New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson to the AFC West on a five-year contract. After the last few seasons, it's clear to see why Brandon Staley and Tom Telesco fawned over him.
In a league where interceptions continue to decline thanks to rule changes, Jackson has amassed an insane 17 in the last two seasons. The Patriots could have had him and Stephon Gilmore on the same roster for years to come, but Jackson's contract demands prompted New England to let LA scoop him up.
The only reason Chargers fans may be fearful of the Jackson signing is New England's free agent history. Every year, New England lets a high-priced player leave on the open market. Teams trying to replicate the Bill Belichick way end up getting burned.
Can Jackson overcome the ghosts of free agency past and be one of the few players who improved after leaving the Patriots? In the modern NFL, a player with Jackson's skillset seems like a good fit irrespective of team or scheme.
Los Angeles Chargers: Will J.C. Jackson perform well?
One doesn't even have to go that far back to find free agents who struggled after leaving Belichick. Trey Flowers underperformed in Detroit and Trent Brown returned after a stint in Las Vegas. Both Nate Solder and Shane Vereen were terrible signings for the Giants. Tennessee signed Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, and Dion lewis. Only Ryan panned out, and it too a while.
What makes Jackson different? The extraordinary turnover generation. Jackson has the most interceptions in the NFL wince 2018, with 25 picks to his name. Even if you include 2017, only Marcus Peters and Xavien Howard have more. Jackson was a No. 1 corner in New England, so he has experience going up against No. 1 guys.
Defensive backs of a certain ilk have had success after leaving Belichick. Hall of Famer Ty Law led the NFL with 10 interceptions after joining the Jets in 2005, and Asante Samuel had a very productive career with the Eagles. Jackson could be the next name on the conveyer belt.
The Chargers have most of their offensive structure set in place, so making sure that the defense is passing the buck should be high on their priority list. Jackson's play will be under a microscope all season long, but he should perform well enough to avoid joining the list of studs who crawl back to New England.