BOSTON (CBS) — Voting for the NFL’s Pro Bowl opened this week. Patriots fans quickly noticed that the NFL’s leader in interceptions was not on the list.

The omission of J.C. Jackson — who has an NFL-best six interceptions thus far in 2020 — seemed like a major gaffe on the NFL’s part. According to longtime NFL reporter Jason Cole, though, the omission actually came from the Patriots.

“According to a league spokesman, the Patriots left him off the list,” Cole tweeted. “It’s up to the teams.”

Cole also added this interesting tidbit: “Jackson is scheduled to be a restricted free agent this offseason.”

That last bit indicates that the “honest mistake” reasoning may go out the window, as the Patriots will be due to re-up Jackson’s deal in the offseason. Surely, a Pro Bowl nod would drive up that price.

At the same time, it may have been a matter of veteran courtesy. The players whom the Patriots did include were Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty. With Gilmore being the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, his inclusion was necessary, even if he has been out with injury lately. And with McCourty having started all nine games in his 12th NFL season, the Patriots may have just went with their Week 1 starters.

At the same time, Cole added that teams are allowed to include three cornerbacks on their list.

Among the notable non-all-star-caliber players included in the voting pool from the Patriots are the aforementioned McCourty; defensive linemen Byron Cowart and Deatrich Wise; linebackers Anfernee Jennings and Ja’Whaun Bentley; and safety Adrian Phillips.

Nevertheless, with picks in five consecutive games, Jackson certainly deserves consideration — and perhaps even a starting spot — in the NFL’s annual all-star game.

USA Today’s Henry McKenna reached out to the Patriots. A spokesperson said the team provided a list of the 11 players who have started the most games.

Normally, Jackson would have that opportunity as an injury replacement. However, the Pro Bowl won’t actually be played this year, due to the pandemic. So making the Pro Bowl only counts as a paper honor — something that can be used to tally career accolades and demand more money in contract negotiations but doesn’t actually lead to an invitation to play in the annual event.

An undrafted free agent signed in 2018, Jackson is making $750,000 in base salary this year. By the end of the year, he’ll have cost the Patriots just $1.8 million for three years of service. In 38 games (and 15 starts) thus far, he’s recorded 14 interceptions, 27 pass defenses, three fumble recoveries, and 79 total tackles. He also has played in four playoff games (two starts) with three pass defenses and eight tackles.

UPDATE: Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald reported that Jackson will be added to the ballot.

The Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels then showed that Jackson had already been added at the behest of the Patriots.

The matter is now resolved.


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