wiIt wasn’t long ago that Washington Commanders coaches were manifesting a bounce-back campaign from William Jackson III. Entering his second year in an unfamiliar zone scheme (he played press man in Cincinnati), there was widespread hope Jackson would rebound after a mistake-marred debut season.
Turns out, that all might’ve been false hope.
We haven’t even reached Halloween and Jackson’s season looks an awful lot like 2021. You honestly wouldn’t be fishing by saying he’s on a worse trajectory. Between miscommunications, applying soft coverage, poor tackling effort against the run and a barrage of penalties, Jackson’s done more harm than good for Washington’s defense, so it wasn’t surprising the cornerback got benched in Week 5.
After the game, though, Jackson said a bulging disk in his back, which kept him out of Week 3 against the Eagles, is what forced him from the game … only for Ron Rivera to come out and imply the veteran did, in fact, get benched.
It appears that back injury flared up during practice this week, because Jackson didn’t feature Thursday night against Chicago and isn’t traveling with the team. Following that, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero are reporting that Jackson wants a trade out of Washington before the deadline.
Commanders’ William Jackson wants a trade out of Washington.
"“Sources say the former big-ticket free agent cornerback would like a new home, and the Commanders have engaged in active trade talks centered around him with hopes of making that happen. There has been interest in Jackson from several teams, sources say.”“With the NFL trade deadline looming on Nov. 1, the likelihood is that Jackson is traded long before then.”"
That escalated quickly. Jackson was listed as a full participant in Washington’s walkthrough practice on Monday before getting in a limited session on Tuesday. Before you could even blink, Garafolo reported Jackson was ruled out for Thursday due to his back and wasn’t traveling with the team to Chicago. Now, he wants out.
Fans speculated that Jackson’s benching could mark the end of his Commanders tenure, and that looks to be the case. The club signed Jackson to a three-year, $42 million contract last offseason and he currently has the second-highest cap hit on the team behind Carson Wentz.
Since arriving in Washington, Jackson’s struggled with durability and performance.
In Week 4 against Dallas, Jackson was flagged three times, including two pass interference penalties — one that negated an interception — that gave the Cowboys a combined 68 yards. Furthermore, Jackson owns a 48.9 coverage grade, is allowing an 84.2% completion rate when targeted, and has more penalties (four) than pass breakups (two).
In 2021, Jackson allowed 363 yards, five touchdowns, a 95.1 passer rating when targeted and his eight penalties were among the most for defensive backs. He missed five games through injury and has already been sidelined twice this season.
All told, jettisoning Jackson is the best-case scenario for Washington. Trading the cornerback comes with just a $3 million dead cap charge and $10.812 million in savings. Many fans talked themselves into cutting Jackson next offseason despite the obvious loss: $9 million in dead money and $6.75 million in total savings.
While trading Jackson would be a win for the Commanders, it doesn’t change the fact the investment was a total disaster and serves as another black eye on the current regime, which is already under fire for its complacent 2022 offseason.
On the same day Washington is tasked with saving their season, ESPN releases a bombshell report on owner Dan Snyder and the team’s second-most expensive player demands a trade. You can’t make this stuff up.