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Commanders CB William Jackson III wants fresh start, could be traded out of D.C. ahead of deadline

William Jackson III wants a fresh start, preferably with a scheme that he believes better fits him.

Sources say the former big-ticket, free-agent cornerback would like a new home, and the Commanders have engaged in trade talks centered around him with hopes of making that happen. There has been interest in Jackson from several teams, sources say.

With the NFL trade deadline looming on Nov. 1, the likelihood is that Jackson is traded long before then.

While Washington plays the Bears tonight, Jackson did not make the trip to Chicago.

He was listed on the Commanders' practice report this week with a back injury. A former top cornerback and starter, Jackson was pulled last week early in the Commanders' 21-17 loss to the Titans.

Head coach Ron Rivera was asked after the Week 5 game about the decision to sit Jackson, and he said, "We just decided to make a change. ...We make decisions based on the flow of the game."

Jackson told reporters that he was battling the back injury.

"I fight through it for my teammates, but you know, things happen," the cornerback said Sunday. "Just seemed better to let somebody else go in."

A first-round pick of the Bengals in 2016, Jackson signed a three-year, $42 million contract during the 2021 offseason with Washington. It was front-loaded -- the Commanders have paid about half of the deal already -- and if another team traded for Jackson next week, he would count just $3.8 million against his new team's salary cap. He has a $5 million base overall this season, but six weeks of it are accounted for.

Once a key cog in the Commanders' secondary, Jackson is not frustrated specifically with the team.

Rather, he considers himself more of a man-to-man cornerback and Washington has run a lot of zone thus far. When Jackson signed, he envisioned himself as a true lockdown corner, covering a team's top receiver.

It hasn't worked out that way.

Now, Jackson could find himself with a new home.

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