One piece of the New England Patriots' cornerback puzzle has been put into place, at least temporarily.
J.C. Jackson, who finished second in the NFL in 2020 with nine interceptions, has signed his tender as a restricted free agent, according to multiple reports.
This isn't overly surprising after the Patriots extended a second-round tender, guaranteeing Jackson a $3.384 million salary for 2021, because NFL teams rarely sign RFAs from other teams to offer sheets.
The move solves a potential issue with Jackson, but only for this season because he'll become an unrestricted free agent next offseason unless the Patriots sign him to a new contract before then.
This leave the Stephon Gilmore situation to be fully addressed.
Gilmore is under contract for the 2021 season, but is scheduled to make a base salary of $7 million, which would make him grossly underpaid by NFL cornerback standards.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft was cryptic in comments about Gilmore when he spoke to the media late last month when he followed some praise directed at the cornerback with, "We'll see what happens."
With both Gilmore and Jackson, the Patriots have one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL.
Whether both of them will be on the roster in 2021 still remains to be played out.