JC Jackson would have been a perfect fit for a big need when it comes to the Las Vegas Raiders defense, but instead, he lands in Los Angeles with the Chargers.
Entering free agency, the Las Vegas Raiders had a legitimate chance to land All-Pro cornerback JC Jackson. Once the “legal tampering” period began early today, two teams were reportedly negotiating with Jackson: The Raiders, and their division rivals from Los Angeles, the Chargers.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a fairytale ending for the Silver and Black. Jackson agreed to a five-year deal worth up to $83 million with the Chargers, who once again were able to add All-Pro talent on the defensive side of the ball. As the off-season roars on, Las Vegas once again finds themselves missing out on an opportunity to add star talent, and this one may be the most costly.
The Raiders have an interest in retaining Casey Hayward, but there’s just one problem – Indianapolis has an interest in the veteran corner, too. Why is this a notable problem? The Colts’ new defensive coordinator is none other than Gus Bradley, who served as Las Vegas’ defensive coordinator in ’21. Bradley was ultimately the reason Hayward wound up being a Raider.
The opportunity to no longer lose sleep over the battle for Hayward was in the Raiders’ sights, but Las Vegas lost out on free agency’s top corner. Last season, Jackson was nothing short of unbelievable. He recorded 8 interceptions and lead the NFL with 23 pass break-ups. There’s a reason opposing QBs held a rate of 46.8% against the All-Pro as well as completion-percentage south of 50%.
Raiders miss big on Jackson in free agency
The real bitter ending isn’t so much that Vegas missed out on Jackson, as much as it is Jackson suiting up for the division rivals in Los Angeles. The Raiders still do have options, headlined by Stephon Gilmore, a free agent Las Vegas has kept in contact with since “legal tampering” kicked off.
Although it looks like it’s all said and done, anything can happen. Every off-season, it seems as if there’s at least one free agent who backs out of the deal he verbally agreed to. Is this the case here? Don’t get your hopes up too high, but it is still possible.
With Christian Kirk securing the bag during the tampering period of NFL free agency, the Raiders will need to pay top dollar to land a WR.
With the AFC West gaining yet another star, the Raiders have to make significant moves this off-season if they want to compete in the division. There’s still time, but things continue to trend downwards for Las Vegas, as the JC Jackson blunder comes down the stretch.