The Los Angeles Chargers seemingly made a grave mistake -- they signed a former New England Patriots player to a big-money free agent deal. The Chargers signed cornerback JC Jackson in free agency after his first four years in the NFL were spent with the New England Patriots, where he racked up a pretty astounding 25 interceptions in four years. Jackson's productivity with the Patriots earned him a five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Chargers in 2022, but it's a deal they have already admitted complete failure on.
In a shocking turn of events, the Chargers have reportedly traded JC Jackson back to the New England Patriots for a couple of late-round draft picks.
There it is. There you have it. A complete admission of free agency failure. The Los Angeles Chargers are barely into the second year of that deal with Jackson, but things have truly been that bad. Jackson played just five games due to injury in the 2022 season for the Chargers and had played in just two games so far this season, but he finally recorded his first interception as a Charger earlier this season.
Jackson has been in the news for all the wrong reasons since he signed with the Chargers. There was a warrant out for his arrest in Massachusetts due to unpaid traffic violations and a failure to appear in court. He was benched last season before suffering a major season-ending injury. Now, he heads back to the Patriots' defense where he is probably a much better fit. It feels rare that players who leave the Patriots actually end up doing better on their new teams, Tom Brady notwithstanding.
The Los Angeles Chargers learned that the hard way.
This situation reminds me of the Denver Broncos' situation with free agent offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James a couple of years back. The Broncos felt like James would be their long-term answer at the right tackle position after the Miami Dolphins let him hit free agency, but he barely played in a couple of games for the team. There was just one thing after another with Ja'Wuan James in Denver and unlike the Chargers, the Broncos weren't able to get any draft pick compensation back when they decided to cut the dead weight.
Although, the Broncos were able to recoup some of their investment due to James suffering an injury outside of the team facility while rehabbing and training.
The situations aren't identical, but similar in the fact that both the Broncos and the Chargers paid up in free agency for guys they felt could be long-term fixtures at key positions, and everything that could go wrong with those signings did go wrong with those signings.