After the Cincinnati Bengals signed Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton, it was clear William Jackson III wasn’t getting re-signed.
Now, it’s official, as Jackson has agreed to a deal with the Washington Football Team, according to Adam Schefter. It’s reportedly a three-year deal worth $42 million, so an annual salary of $14 million.
WFT giving William Jackson a three-year, $42 million deal, per source. https://t.co/G1wUT9CWZD— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2021
Jackson, a sixth-year player in 2021, was originally a first-round pick of the Bengals in the 2016 NFL Draft. After missing his rookie season with a torn pectoral muscle, Jackson took the league by storm in 2017, finishing the year as one of the best cornerbacks in the game. His 90.2 Pro Football Focus grade was among the best of any NFL defensive back that year.
Unfortunately, Jackson was never able to live up to that season, as he finished the following three seasons with marks of 73.4 in 2018, 53.6 in 2019, and 71.4 this past season. One issue that’s constantly plagued him is dropped interceptions. He grabbed just three picks in 59 career games but should have at least double that if he could just hang on to the ball.
Still, as free agency began this month, it was evident the Bengals were facing an uphill climb to retain Jackson, who was one of the top free agent cornerbacks this offseason. In a pass-happy NFL, that meant he was primed to sign a massive contract this offseason, one the Bengals likely couldn’t afford as they look to rebuild their offense around franchise quarterback Joe Burrow.
The Bengals also hosted recently-released A.J. Bouye on a visit the day before free agency began. While Bouye wasn’t going to sign a huge deal, the Pro Bowler was still going to command enough that there was little-to-no chance the Bengals could sign him and retain Jackson, so this was yet another sign that the latter was likely headed elsewhere.
Best of luck to Jackson as he ventures off to a new team. We’re still rooting for ya!
And that team name is still hella funny.
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