Already majorly flawed, the Washington Commanders’ 2020 offseason took another hit before Tuesday’s trade deadline when they traded cornerback William Jackson III to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a deal involving late-round draft pick swaps.
The Commanders sent Jackson and a 2025 conditional seventh-round pick to Pittsburgh for a 2025 conditional sixth-round selection. The trade gets Washington off the hook for Jackson’s $2.77 million in remaining salary and sticks a fork in a marriage that never so much as enjoyed a honeymoon.
In commendable fashion, Ron Rivera admitted the team’s mistake in its evaluation of Jackson when they signed him in free agency two years ago. There was hope Jackson would eventually acclimate himself to Washington’s scheme, but a woeful start to 2022 derailed any remaining hope the move would pan out.
While the Commanders deserve credit for making a clean break — and getting something for Jackson after he was headed for a release — the franchise will (deservedly) feel the effects of the signing through the 2023 season.
The financial reality of the trade is just brutal. Care to guess how much the Commanders paid Jackson for his 16 games in DC? A cool $24 million.
The financial fallout of the Commanders’ William Jackson trade is jarring.
That’s an impossible stat to wrap your head around.
If you can believe it, Washington paid Jackson $1.5 million per game. Plenty of players around the league earn more than that on Sundays, but Jackson did more harm than good when he played and his durability was a big problem, too, as he missed nine games in a year and a half.
To quickly summarize Jackson’s struggles, the cornerback compiled more penalties (12) than pass breakups (10), per Pro Football Focus, in 16 games. Further, Jackson allowed a 122.45 passer rating and a 71.35% completion rate when targeted. Shouldn’t come as a surprise he logged a combined 54.2 coverage grade.
Again, $24 million in 16 games for that … and we haven’t even gotten to Jackson’s dead cap charges. Trading Jackson doesn’t get Washington out of his $9 million deal cap number next season. They’ll pay that for him not to be on the team. While they’ll save $6 million against the overall cap, that $9 million is hideous.
Did we mention the $10.6 million in dead cap this season?
Couple that with Landon Collins’ $4.65 million dead money carryover after his offseason release and you’re talking almost $14 million in dead cap between two players.
What say you, Commanders fans? Which is worse: paying Jackson $24 million for less than a full season of action, or having the cornerback account for $9 million against the cap next season even though he’ll play in the AFC?
No matter which way you slice it, it’s a brutal optic for the Commanders, but a deserved punishment for an awful signing.