William Jackson III Reportedly Agrees to 3-Year, $42M Contract with WFT

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2021

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback William Jackson (22) in action during an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr.)
Daniel Kucin Jr./Associated Press

Free-agent cornerback William Jackson III reportedly reached an agreement with the Washington Football Team on Tuesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the three-year deal was worth roughly $14 million annually.

The 28-year-old was the No. 24 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft out of Houston, and he spent his first five NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was a full-time starter for each of the past three seasons, but he hit the free-agent market following the 2020 campaign.

Jackson's NFL career got off to a less-than-ideal start, though, as he missed his entire rookie season after tearing a pectoral muscle during the preseason.

He managed to bounce back and work his way into the rotation the following season, appearing in 15 games and making five starts. He finished with 27 tackles, one interception, one sack and 14 passes defended in what was his de facto rookie campaign.

Jackson started 43 of the 44 games he appeared in over the next three seasons, recording one interception each in 2019 and 2020 and a total of 27 pass breakups in those three seasons combined.

In 2020, the former Cougars star started all 14 games he appeared in for the 4-11-1 Bengals and finished with a career-high 45 tackles to go along with one pick and 11 passes defensed.

While Jackson has been a solid-if-unspectacular player during his NFL career, it is fair to say he hasn't quite lived up to his status as a first-round pick. A major reason for that is a lack of big plays, as he has recorded only three interceptions, one sack and no forced fumbles or fumble recoveries during his NFL career.

It is difficult to say if Jackson will ever be able to become more of a playmaker at the cornerback position, but if he can make some strides in that area, then Washington could have a steal on its hands in free agency.