After struggling to find his way with the Chargers, J.C. Jackson will get a fresh start in a familiar place.
The veteran cornerback is headed back to New England after the Chargers and Patriots agreed Wednesday morning on a trade.
The Chargers dealt Jackson and a 2025 seventh-round pick to the Patriots for a 2025 sixth-rounder, according to a person familiar with the details but not authorized to speak publicly.
Jackson’s time with the Chargers was marked by injury, inconsistent play and legal issues off the field.
He joined the Chargers in March 2022 as a free agent, signing a five-year contract that guarantees him $40 million and is worth up to $82.5 million. At the time, the addition was celebrated as significant.
But Jackson never seemed to fit in with the Chargers or head coach Brandon Staley’s defensive scheme, his problems beginning when he missed the start of last season because of a foot injury.
Jackson made his Chargers debut the next week at Kansas City but then missed the next game before returning to the starting lineup.
His struggles reached the point where he was benched before suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 7 against Seattle.
Jackson returned for the opening of training camp in late July and then started the first two games this season.
But he was inactive in Week 3 against Minnesota and Justin Jefferson and, on Sunday, was active and didn’t play against Las Vegas and Davante Adams.
Particularly given the opposition, it would have been difficult to concoct a more damning sequence regarding Jackson’s status with the Chargers than what transpired over the past two weeks.
Asked Monday about the recent efforts of his secondary, Staley praised his defensive backs’ play — especially over the past two games.
“I’m really proud of that group’s performance, the preparation,” he said. “That’s two weeks in a row that I felt like the guys have really given us a strong chance to win the game.”
Jackson also dealt with a pair of legal problems in recent months, one involving a family matter and the other a probation violation. Both issues stemmed from his previous time with New England.
Jackson, 27, spent his first four NFL seasons with the Patriots and became a Pro Bowler in 2021. He had 25 interceptions in 62 games. In seven games with the Chargers, he intercepted one pass and had 18 tackles.
With Jackson gone, Michael Davis and Asante Samuel Jr. will continue to start at outside corner for the Chargers with Ja’Sir Taylor starting inside.
The Chargers are off this week before returning Oct. 16 to play Dallas at SoFi Stadium.