Packers Urged to Sign $40.5 Million Free Agent Bust DB

William Jackson III, NFL free-agent DB, is linked to the Packers.

Getty William Jackson III, NFL free-agent DB, is linked to the Packers.

With the Packers youth movement off to a rousing start, it might not seem an ideal time for the team to dip its toe into NFL veteran waters, especially if that veteran has had a spotty recent history. But the team does have a pretty clear need for some short-term help at cornerback, and there happens to be a talented—if turbulent—free agent sitting by his phone.

That free agent is William Jackson III, the former Bengals first-round pick (in 2016) who earned a starting job as a rookie and was a fixture in Cincinnati for the first four years of his career. It was not until Jackson left the Bengals as a free agent in 2021, landing a $40.5 million, three-year contract with Washington, that things went haywire.

But the Packers could take a small-risk gamble on a Jackson comeback. The team has started the season with corner Eric Stokes on the PUP list as he recovers from surgeries on his knee and ankle suffered in Week 9 last season. Stokes missed all of training camp, and it’s unclear when he might return.

Thus, the folks at Bleacher Report are suggesting Jackson because, as the site’s staff writes, “Packers could use some depth at cornerback behind Jaire Alexander and Rasul Douglas.”

Jackson Had Rocky 2 Seasons in Washington

Jackson would be an odd choice, though, because Green Bay is coming into 2023 as Team Peace & Harmony. That’s not been a theme for Jackson in his NFL career.

After signing with Washington, and playing reasonably well—he had eight passes defended and two interceptions in 12 games—injuries began limiting Jackson’s production. During his second season in Washington, Jackson was benched and claimed the move was because he had a back injury. Coach Ron Rivera, though, said Jackson wasn’t hurt, but that Washington just wanted a change at the position.

Jackson requested a trade, and got one, to Pittsburgh, for the whopping return price of a 2024 and 2025 swap of conditional sixth- and seventh-round draft picks. Jackson was placed on injured reserve and never returned, never officially playing a down for the Steelers.

“While Jackson’s injured-riddled tenure in Washington and Pittsburgh over the last two seasons was disappointing, he would still bring starting experience and talent to Green Bay’s secondary,” B/R/ commented. “The former Bengal did have 41 pass breakups in 59 games with Cincinnati.”

He’s a former first-rounder with talent, then, and he could be had on the cheap as he tries to get back into the NFL. But the Packers might rather look elsewhere.

Hamstring Injuries Dominate at Pack Practice

As for the guys on the roster, the injury report heading into Week 2 was pretty well-populated, though there were no major surprises. Hamstrings are still the order of the day, with Aaron Jones out of practice to rest the hamstring he injured soring a touchdown, and Romeo Doubs resting the hurt hammy he played through in Week 1. Both should be active on Sunday.

Christian Watson did not practice, either, and though he is hopeful of playing in Week 2, he will need to get into practice this week for that to happen.

Linebacker Quay Walker is still in concussion protocol, and the Packers remain tight-lipped on his status, as required by teams with players in the protocol.

Left tackle David Bakhtiari did not practice, but that’s nothing new. Left guard Elgton Jenkins has a knee issue, but did practice on Wednesday, so he is likely a go on Sunday.


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