The names of running backs the Atlanta Falcons might bring over in free agency continues to grow, with Steven Jackson, who is most likely going to void his contract with the St. Louis Rams, being the next one to join the impressive list.
One of the reasons so many backs are being considered is Michael Turner probably going to be released by them, to avoid paying him $6.9 million next season, and to find someone with so much mileage on his legs to pair with the emerging Jacquizz Rodgers. Turner had over 300 carries on his three of his four seasons with the Falcons, but he dropped to 222 (and 800 yards) last season, and it’s clear that nine years in the NFL have taken their toll.
Jackson has been in the NFL the same amount of time, and has been used much more during his tenure with the St. Louis Rams, although his work load has been lightened in the last couple of season to about 250-260 carries a year, but still producing more than 1000 yards on the ground (8 consecutive seasons), and being one of the more productive all-purpose backs in the NFL, finishing with 1363 last season and is ranked third among active players.
The Falcons were ranked 29th last season in the NFL with only 87.3 yards per game, with the same going for their average production, 29th as well, with 3.7 yards per carry by their running backs. Despite Jackson not exactly being a young stud, he’s still a workhorse who can take quite a lot of physical punishment, and should improve the Falcons’ options in the backfield, providing the power to Rodgers’ speed.
Some think that the Falcons are better off drafting a running back and putting themselves in a situation with a running back pair who both don’t have too much mileage on their bodies, but experience is usually crucial when trying to win the Super Bowl, and the Falcons feel they’re close to that, falling short by about 10 yards last season. Jackson, or another veteran back (Reggie Bush?) will probably be the name we’ll hear about in the coming weeks.