Cornerback William Jackson III has a new team and a new number. Acquired by the Pittsburgh Steelers hours before yesterday’s deadline, Jackson will wear #17 for the Steelers. That’s according to the team website, which has updated the roster reflecting the trade.
Jackson wore #3 this season for the Washington Commanders after wearing #23 last season. Drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2016, Jackson wore #22 during his time with the team. Jackson wore #3 in college at Houston, getting to wear that digit in the NFL earlier this year. #3 was available for the Steelers but perhaps Jackson wants a new jersey number to reflect his fresh start.
This season, Jackson has started four games, recording 16 tackles and two pass breakups with zero interceptions. Injuries and a poor scheme fit bumped him out of the lineup and he hasn’t played in a game since Week 5. Jackson is expected to be the team’s starting left corner once he picks up the playbook. He’ll likely have enough time from now until the team’s Week 10 game against the New Orleans Saints to crack the lineup. He joins a 53-man CB room consisting of: Cam Sutton, Levi Wallace, Ahkello Witherspoon, Arthur Maulet, James Pierre, and Josh Jackson. Pittsburgh’s dealt with injuries in the room for most of the season and were without Wallace (shoulder) and Jackson (groin) in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Notable Steelers to wear #17 include WR Mike Wallace, P Chris Gardocki, and QB Joe Gilliam. WR Anthony Miller briefly wore #17 for the Steelers last season. Recent NFL rules have relaxed jersey number parameters for positions, allowing skill players to wear numbers in the teens and single digits.
Jackson is under contract through 2023 but keeping him through next year will come at a high cost. He’ll have to play well for the team to pay his offseason roster bonus and next year’s base salary. Still, it’s a low-risk move for the Steelers, trading a late 2025 pick to essentially rent Jackson this year and make a decision in the offseason.