Patriots Trade for Old Favorite After Christian Gonzalez Injury: Report

Christian Gonzalez

Getty The New England Patriots have moved quickly to replace injured rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez.

Bill Belichick hasn’t wasted time reinforcing his secondary after losing top draft pick Christian Gonzalez to injury. The New England Patriots have a new cornerback after making a trade on Wednesday, October 4.

Actually, make that an old cornerback who is new again after the Pats sent a sixth-round pick in the 2025 NFL draft to the Los Angeles Chargers for J.C. Jackson, and seventh-round compensation, per Albert Breer of

The deal was later confirmed by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport who reported Gonzalez, drafted 17th overall this year, “is likely to miss the rest of the 2023 season with a torn labrum from a dislocated shoulder,” suffered during Week 4’s 38-3 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys, with the dynamic rookie set for “surgery soon.”

Losing Gonzalez is an obvious blow, but a reunion with Jackson is the Patriots making the best of a bad situation. Especially since Belichick got a bargain thanks to the Chargers picking up most of the tab.

Patriots Got a Steal

As Rapoport’s colleague Tom Pelissero reported, “the Chargers are paying the majority of J.C. Jackson’s $12 million guaranteed salary to facilitate the deal.”

Further details on how this trade will be funded were provided by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. He detailed how both teams “are reworking J.C. Jackson’s remaining $9.33M salary for 2023, with New England covering around $1.5M and the Chargers covering the rest in a signing bonus.”

Terms that favorable to the Pats makes this an even better deal, especially since 27-year-old Jackson thrived in Belichick’s defensive scheme during four seasons at Gillette Stadium, earning the moniker ‘Mr. INT’ in the process.

Ideally, he’ll act as a proven commodity at a position ravaged by injuries just less than a month into this season.

Patriots Need Jackson Back to His Best

Things didn’t go as well for Jackson in L.A., with a warrant issued in September, according to’s Chris Mason: “The former New England cornerback didn’t appear for a probation violation hearing in Attleboro District Court on Friday and now has a straight warrant out for his arrest, MassLive has learned. Originally charged with criminal speeding in 2021, Jackson didn’t abide by the terms of his probation. He didn’t complete the ‘Brains At Risk’ program he was ordered to take, nor did he pay a $300 fine. After failing to appear in court last week, the warrant was issued.”

Jackson was left out of the Chargers’ game against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3. He was also benched by Chargers’ head coach Brandon Staley during a game against the Denver Broncos in 2022.

During the 2022 season, Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar explained how Staley’s defense differed from what Jackson had been used to under Belichick: “Whether in man or zone, Belichick likes cornerbacks who can match receivers through the route. Staley’s defensive paradigm aligns more with the idea that cornerbacks and safeties need to work together through the route.”

The Patriots need Jackson to get back to his best because the cornerback depth chart has been stripped bare. Jonathan Jones has missed time with an ankle problem, while fellow cover man Marcus Jones was sent to the injured reserve list after damaging his shoulder during defeat to AFC East rivals the Miami Dolphins in Week 2.

Their absences have compounded top corner Jack Jones landing on injured reserve with a hamstring issue before the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Belichick will hope a return to familiar surroundings helps Jackson get back to being the player who snagged 17 picks across the 2020 and ’21 campaigns. Jackson particularly thrived at taking away throws beyond 20 yards during that time, per Pro Football Focus.

Those are the numbers of a true shutdown cornerback, exactly what Gonzalez was on his way to becoming before injury struck.

Injury a Cruel Blow for Potential Rookie Star

Gonzalez was looking like a potential star before a fateful night at AT&T Stadium. He proved as much by being named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for September.

The former Colorado and Oregon standout had allowed just one touchdown and a 68.8 completion percentage, per Pro Football Reference. Gonzalez appeared primed to become the latest in a long line of cornerbacks able to play on an island in Belichick’s demanding defense and still shut down an opponent’s top target.

Hopefully, the 21-year-old’s surgery goes well and he can return to form a formidable tandem with Jackson.