Turning 30 in a few months, Steven Jackson is still a reliable 1000-yard running back, just not as explosive as before, and certainly not worth the money he expects to get, which means he will no longer be a St. Louis Rams player as of next season.
Jackson is due to make $7 million next season, but is expected to void his final year of the contract in order to test free agency waters, which don’t usually offer too much to free agents, especially those who are no longer considered superstars, and have nine seasons of NFL experience to show on their CV.
Jackson has been with the Rams since 2004 and except for his rookie season, has rushed for at least 1000 yards in every year, scoring 56 touchdowns in the process, accumulating over 10,000 rushing yards, ranking him on top among active running backs in yards and fifth in touchdowns.
While the Rams would like to keep Jackson on the roster (ran for 1042 yards last season), being $2 million over the cap means they simply can’t afford to still have him at the price his contract commands. Him asking to leave the team or at least void the final year of his contract is some sort of blessing in disguise for the team – there will be talks with Jackson and his agents during the NFL combine, hoping to reach a new deal that might give Jackson a few more years of service with the Rams, but at a much more affordable price.
Jackson is a pretty good receiver on top of being a workhorse at tailback, leading all active running backs in rushing attempts. He led the NFL in all-purpose yards in 2006 with 2334 total yards, including catching 90 passes for 806 yards. He hasn’t been used in that capacity for a very long time, but he’s consistently one of the leading NFL player in touches per game and is also the active leader in total touches with 2806 for his career.
Whoever does get Jackson won’t be disappointed with his work ethic and his ability to do more than just run when asked to, but at the price-range he’s thinking about at the moment, it’s not going to happen.