Carolina Panthers could regret extending Donte Jackson
The Carolina Panthers had a decision to make in the cornerback room this off-season. They knew Jaycee Horn and C.J. Henderson would be back in 2022, but who would be the other starter was up for debate.
Carolina pretty much had a choice between Donte Jackson – who the team drafted back in 2018 – or former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore following his arrival from the New England Patriots.
The Panthers chose Jackson, giving the former LSU man a three-year $35 million deal. Gilmore moved to the Indianapolis Colts on a two-year $20 million deal, and through the first four weeks of the season, those in power may be regretting that move.
Jackson has been battling injuries throughout the season so far. This has been a feature of his time in the league and this is matched by seemingly being the opposing offensive coordinator’s target on third-down plays.
So far this season Jackson has a 52.5 grade from Pro Football Focus, ranking him 81st out of 101 cornerbacks. Compare that to Gilmore, who currently grades at 74.9 and is outside the top 10.
If the Panthers could have paired a skilled veteran like Gilmore alongside Horn, who is currently the fourth highest graded corner, Carolina could have had a real lockdown pairing. Instead, it remains to be seen whether allocating these funds to Jackson will end up costing them in the long run.