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J.C. Jackson leaves Patriots, agrees to five-year contract with Chargers

J.C. Jackson had 25 interceptions over the past four seasons, most in the league, with the Patriots.John Bazemore/Associated Press

Mr. INT just might have to change his nickname to Mr. Moneybags.

Pro Bowl cornerback J.C. Jackson is switching coasts, agreeing Monday to a five-year deal to join the Los Angeles Chargers.

According to a league source, the soon-to-be former Patriot’s contract is worth $82.5 million, including $40 million in guaranteed money over the first two years. He will receive salaries of $28 million, $12 million, $14.375 million, $12.025 million, and $14.1 million.

Shortly after news of the deal broke, Jackson, who uses the moniker Mr. INT on social media, changed his Twitter avatar to a picture of him in a Chargers uniform with the caption “J.C. Jackson LA bound.’’


“Love LA. Love Cali,’’ Jackson told NBC Sports Boston. “Not only that, the defense, I think I can add some value to that defense. That’s a stacked group and imagine me [joining] … It’s going to be scary.’’

He was widely considered the top cornerback on the market and now joins a defense that already boasts several impact stars in linebacker Khalil Mack, edge rusher Joey Bosa, and safety Derwin James.

Jackson has been one of the top takeaway guys in the NFL since Bill Belichick signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Maryland in 2018. His 25 interceptions are tied for most by a player in his first four seasons in the league. Jackson had eight interceptions in 2021, one more than the entire Chargers secondary.

He has a knack for always being around the ball, and as Belichick said last November after Jackson picked off a tipped ball in the end zone, “you leave any trash laying around, he’s going to pick it up.’’

Jackson thanked the Patriots for the “experience” of playing here.

J.C. Jackson is headed for Southern California.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

“Got a chance to win a Super Bowl. Got to play with great players, play for one of the best coaches in Coach [Bill] Belichick. I want to thank them for everything they did for me,’’ he told NBC Sports Boston.


Safety Adrian Phillips, who spent the last two seasons playing with Jackson in the Patriots secondary tweeted, “Hell yea JC … much deserved!!! #elite.’’

Jackson, 26, adjusted to the Patriots system quickly upon arriving as a rookie, with many veterans, including Devin McCourty, mentioning his competitiveness and ability to defend deep passes during training camp.

“J.C. has natural hands and tracks the ball well,’’ Belichick said last year. “He has great hand-eye coordination.’’

Just two seasons ago, the Patriots boasted one of the top 1-2 punches at cornerback with Stephon Gilmore and Jackson. Gilmore was traded to the Panthers last season and is also on the free agent market.

Jackson emerged as a No. 1 cornerback last season, helping lead the Patriots to a top-five defense that helped the franchise to a 10-7 record and a return to the playoffs after a one-year absence.

Now Jackson will play in a secondary with James, Asante Samuel Jr., and Michael Davis — and in an AFC West division loaded with top quarterbacks. The Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes, the Broncos have Russell Wilson, and the Raiders have Derek Carr.

The Chargers finished 9-8 and missed the playoffs last season and opponents converted 49.5 percent of their third downs against them.

J.C. Jackson's 25 career interceptions are tied for most by a player in his first four seasons in the league.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Chargers coach Brandon Staley made it clear during the Scouting Combine two weeks ago that his club would be in the market for a corner.


“You’re in five defensive backs 65 percent or more, so corner is definitely going to be something we’re looking at,’’ he said. “We’re always going to be looking at it as long as I’m the head coach. You’re aware of these receivers that we have to defend.’’

The Patriots have Jalen Mills, Jonathan Jones, Myles Bryant, Joejuan Williams, and Shaun Wade on the cornerback depth chart.

Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.