Jackson returning to Patriots after signing one-year tender

AFC East

BOSTON (AP)The Patriots have re-signed cornerback J.C. Jackson, bringing back the former undrafted free agent who finished second in the NFL in interceptions in 2020.

The restricted free agent returns to New England where he will be paid $3.88 million this upcoming season after signing the second-round tender the Patriots placed on him prior to the start of free agency. He will become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

The Patriots also announced Friday they released offensive lineman Dustin Woodard.

Jackson made an instant impact in New England’s secondary since signing in 2018 out of Maryland. The 25-year-old’s career-high nine interceptions last season led the Patriots and were second in the NFL behind Miami cornerback Xavien Howard’s 10. Jackson had eight interceptions over his first two seasons in the league, and has started 22 of 45 career games.

He’ll return to a transitioning secondary that still has 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore and safety Devin McCourty. Veteran safety Patrick Chung recently announced his retirement, but the Patriots did add versatile defensive back Jalen Mills during free agency.

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