NFL rumors: Patriots place second round tender on free agent J.C. Jackson

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Nick Goss
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Report: Patriots make interesting decision on J.C. Jackson's status originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The most important restricted free agent for the New England Patriots this offseason is cornerback J.C. Jackson, and according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, the team has placed a second-round tender on the 25-year-old star.

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What does this mean?

If a team signs Jackson to an offer sheet, the Patriots can match that contract and keep him. If the Patriots declined to match, they would receive a second-round draft pick from the team acquiring Jackson.

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Jackson finished second in the league with a team-leading nine interceptions last season. He also tallied 40 tackles, two fumble recoveries and 14 passes defensed. He's played three seasons for the Patriots after being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2018.

Working out a long-term deal with Jackson would be a good scenario for the Patriots, especially when you consider the uncertainty surrounding former All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore's future with the franchise.

The Patriots have been busy in free agency so far. They've brought in six players and spent more than $130 million in guaranteed money.