Pro Bowl CB JC Jackson says Patriots ‘feel like they don’t need me’ as contract talks remain silent

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No NFL player has ever recorded more interceptions in his first four seasons than JC Jackson. Mr. INT’s next takeaway might not be so easy.

As the franchise window opened on Tuesday, the Pro Bowl cornerback said the Patriots haven’t discussed a new contract with him, according to NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry.

“I guess they feel like they don’t need me,” Jackson said. “I guess I can’t be that important to them. I know I am, but they don’t show me.”

Jackson has shown nothing but production at New England since being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2018, becoming one of the best corners in football. His 25 interceptions over the past four years are league-leading. In 2021, his first season as a full-time starter, Jackson recorded an NFL record with 23 passes defended and eight interceptions. It earned him a Pro Bowl selection and second-team All-Pro honors.

It remains to be seen what type of contract he will win. Jackson said the team approached him about an extension last year, talks he described as positive but chose to postpone until the end of the season.

“I wanted to focus on the ball back then,” Jackson said. “I wanted to finish the season the right way. I didn’t really give them any feedback on that.”

The Pats have yet to resume negotiations with the impending free agent. They have until March 8 to designate Jackson with a franchise or transition tag. They could also choose to let Jackson walk in free agency or tag him while lining up a business partner who would sign him to a multi-year pact. Jackson said he’s ready to play on the tag, estimated at $17.295 million, but his goal this offseason is to sign a long-term deal — in New England or elsewhere.

“I love the game,” he said. “If they tag me, I’m going to go out there and play. … Whatever happens, I take it day by day. But it’s time for me to get paid. It’s time to make Mr. INT pay. “

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