Green Bay Packers Cut ’em, Keep ’em or Trade ’em: Josh Jackson

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 13: Josh Jackson #37 of the Green Bay Packers looks on before the first half against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 13, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 13: Josh Jackson #37 of the Green Bay Packers looks on before the first half against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 13, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

Currently, the Green Bay Packers are trying to work their way under the salary cap — wherever that might be — as they still find themselves $11.4 million over, according to Over the Cap. So far, we’ve seen them restructure David Bakhtiari’s deal and cut both Rick Wagner and Christian Kirksey. But more moves will follow.

We will see a Davante Adams extension; at least some portion of Aaron Rodgers’ deal will be restructured, and perhaps, more cuts. Recently, I began a series called “Cut ’em or Keep ’em & Prediction,” taking a look at what the Packers should do with Preston Smith, Dean Lowry, and Devin Funchess, who all could end up as salary cap casualties.

Today I wanted to touch on one other player in particular and add a little twist. Josh Jackson is now entering his fourth NFL season, and the big question is, where does he go from here? Should they keep him for one more season? Does Green Bay cut him to free up some cap space? Or is trading him a possibility?

I take a look at each of these options and give my prediction for what I think the Green Bay Packers will do.

Why the Green Bay Packers could keep Josh Jackson

2021 Cap Hit: $1,990,577

I mean, to put it simply, I know that Josh Jackson hasn’t been very good, but it’s not as if the Green Bay Packers are swimming in cornerback depth. As of now, the only other boundary cornerbacks on the roster outside of Jackson and Jaire Alexander include Stanford Samuels, Ka’dar Hollman, and KeiVarae Russell.

Green Bay should do everything they can this offseason to try to both upgrade the position and add depth, whether that be in free agency and/or spending multiple picks on cornerback in the draft. But moving on from Jackson before free agency and the draft takes place only amplifies the need. Not to mention that it’s not like Jackson comes with a huge cap hit or saves the Packers a ton of cap space by cutting him.

This season the Packers will also be rolling out a new defense under defensive coordinator Joe Barry. Perhaps there’s hope that a new system can revitalize Jackson’s career here in Green Bay–although that’s not something I’d bank on. Jackson was given the opportunity at different positions under Mike Pettine but could never stick.

I’ll admit, there isn’t a strong case to keep Jackson for the 2021 season based on what we’ve seen. But what may end up playing in his favor is the overall lack of depth at the cornerback position.

Why the Green Bay Packers could cut Josh Jackson

2021 Cap Savings: $1,333,104

As I just mentioned above, it’s not as if the Green Bay Packers are saving a ton of cap space by moving on from Jackson. But in an offseason with a shrinking salary cap, taking a nearly $2 million cap hit for a player that was a healthy scratch multiple times at the end of the season isn’t the most prudent decision.

Jackson spent most of 2019 on the sidelines but saw action in several games early on in 2020 while Kevin King was out injured. And for the most part, the same issues that have plagued Jackson during his first two seasons were once again on display.

Quarterbacks were efficient against him, completing 15 of 22 passes–although he did hold receivers to just 7.9 yards per catch. Jackson allowed a touchdown, had no interceptions, just one pass breakup, and was called for six penalties. There were also six missed tackles and a big reason behind Jackson being listed as inactive at the end of the year is because he can’t contribute on special teams either.

Whether it be in zone coverage, man coverage, out wide, in the slot, or as a safety, Jackson has been moved around, but to no avail. Even in a new defensive system, if Brian Gutekunst and company don’t believe Jackson can become a contributor, then taking the $1.3 million in cap savings is going to be appealing.

Why the Green Bay Packers may try to trade Josh Jackson

2021 Cap Savings: $1,333,104 (but have to take on new salary if a player is acquired in return)

At this point, a fresh start seems to be what’s best for Jackson. Like I just mentioned, it’s not as if the Green Bay Packers haven’t tried to make it work by moving him around and trying different positions. Other teams know this, but as a former second-round pick, Jackson may still carry some value.

There are other young players out there still on their rookie deals who haven’t been able to put it together with their current teams either. Perhaps there is one player in particular that the Packers really liked during the pre-draft process or someone that they feel will perform better in their offensive or defensive systems–essentially hoping a change of scenery helps.

Green Bay could also try to land a Day 3 draft pick in return for Jackson, or maybe he’s a part of a trade package that helps them move up in the draft.

The point is, there are options. Now, which teams are interested or what they’re willing to give up remains to be seen. But trying to get something in return for Jackson, even if it’s a seventh-round pick, is a better alternative than just flat-out cutting him.

Prediction: What do the Green Bay Packers do?

Green Bay keeps Josh Jackson, but there’s no guarantee he’s on the Week 1 roster

There are two reasons that I believe that the Green Bay Packers keep Josh Jackson for the time being. The first, as I mentioned, is the depth of the cornerback position. Cutting Jackson before we see how free agency and the draft unfold makes little sense–even if he is someone with question marks.

As far as a trade goes, I certainly believe it’s an option, but I’m not going to predict that it happens either.

dark. Next. Is Franchise Tag Realistic Option for Aaron Jones?

On top of that, and perhaps more importantly, according to Over the Cap, whether the Packers cut Jackson today or after June 1st, the cap savings remain the same. So because of the lack of depth, and new defensive system coming in, my prediction is that the Packers keep Jackson for training camp, see how he performs, and if he hasn’t shown improvement, they’ll cut him at that time in favor of the $1.3 million in cap savings.