- According to reports this morning from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Rams RB Steven Jackson is going to void the final year of his deal on March 12 as free agency is set to open. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed along the situation the whole time.
– From a Rams perspective, it was going to be pretty unpalatable to pay Jackson $7 million next season as they are already in tight under the cap and have to fill in some other holes on the roster. But remember what GM Les Snead and HC Jeff Fisher said over the weekend in Indianapolis: they want Jackson to return. They’ve been consistent in their praise for him and they know that without him they would be losing a lot in terms of leadership, not to mention the consistent production.
– From Jackson’s perspective, he will be 30 next season and he’s running out of tread on the tires. He can still go, there’s no question about it but how much does he have remaining? This could be his last chance to get a nice contract and, more important, a chance to win a Super Bowl. He hasn’t been to the playoffs since his rookie season in 2004. So he has a lot to consider. But let’s also remember his desire to stay a Ram. He truly enjoyed playing for Fisher and the offense is a good fit for what he does. Not to mention, Jackson is a student of the game, something of a NFL historian. He’d love to be able to break into the top 10 rushers of all time while wearing the same jersey for his entire career.
– Jackson rushed for 1,042 yards while averaging 4.1 yards per attempt in 2012 and he chipped in 321 yards on 38 catches. That doesn’t even account for the fact that he’s still an outstanding pass protector and picks up the blitz as well as any back around.
– Fisher and Snead said over the weekend that they’d been in contact with Eugene Parker, Jackson’s agent. Nobody is surprised by the apparent decision to void the final year. Heck, this is why the agreement to give that option to Jackson was put in place in the first place. Now isn’t the time to panic, it’s a time to let things play out.
– Rumors around Indianapolis had teams like Atlanta, Denver and even Green Bay as interested parties. The Packers seem unlikely since it’s traditionally not their style to sign older veterans. But Denver and, especially Atlanta could make a lot of sense as both seem to be on the verge of Super Bowl opportunities.
– So how will this all play out? That’s nearly impossible to predict. Here’s what Fisher had to say on Friday about what goes into a decision like this:
“I think it’s (about) identifying what both sides want moving forward,” Fisher said. “Jack knows how I feel about him and that we want him back. But we’ve got time. We’ve got a few more weeks and we’ll see where it goes.”
– In terms of a contract, nobody knows what the parameters Jackson and Parker have in mind just yet. When he gets the chance to explore the market, his value will crystallize in a bit. Just because Jackson will explore his options doesn’t mean he won’t be back with the Rams. He could end up elsewhere, certainly, but that will only become clear in time.
– Again, there is nothing surprising about Jackson voiding the final year. All that’s left to do now is wait to see how it all plays out.
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