Guregian: Patriots have more than one cornerback riddle to solve

FOXBORO — If Stephon Gilmore’s contract situation has been tough to resolve, just wait. J.C. Jackson’s on deck.

Gilmore’s sidekick merely finished second in the league last year in quarterback thievery, coming away with nine interceptions, trailing only Xavien Howard of the Dolphins. Jackson also recorded 14 passes defended and allowed just a 59 % completion percentage and 66.6 passer rating in coverage.

If he’s able to build off those impressive numbers, Jackson will find plenty of suitors willing to offer him a significant pay raise given he’s due to hit free agency next year.

Speaking with the media Saturday, Jackson played it cool. He didn’t seem bothered that the Patriots placed a second-round tender (one year, $3.384 million) on him as a restricted free agent — which he signed — as opposed to offering a contract extension.

“I wasn’t expecting no contract extension yet,” said Jackson. “It just gives me another year to get better and improve myself, actually. That’s how I look at it. Nothing negative. All positive.”

In other words, Jackson knows his time is going to come. Big paydays are part of the norm for the better corners in the league. Given the importance of the position, especially for the shutdown types, they get paid. Case in point, the top six corners make between $15 million and $20 million a year, with the Rams’ Jalen Ramsey sitting at the top.

So as long as Jackson stays…

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