St. Louis Rams all-time rushing leader Steven Jackson will void the final season of the six-year, $44 million deal that he signed with the team in 2008, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jim Thomas.
The 29-year-old Jackson will hit the free agent market on March 12, but the news does not come as a surprise. He was scheduled to make $7 million next season, but the Rams could not picture paying him that much with him turning 30 at the start of next season.
For most running backs, 30 is the age when their numbers start to plunge, but Jackson has not shown any signs of a drastic downfall. In the final eight games of the 2012 season, Jackson averaged 108 yards from scrimmage. Jackson has also topped 1,000 yards rushing for eight seasons.
This will be the first time Jackson hits the free-agent market since being drafted by the Rams in 2004. Several media outlets are reporting that Jackson wants to not only play for a playoff-contenting team but a Super Bowl contender if possible. The last time that Jackson has been in a postseason game was in his rookie season.
One of the teams that has risen to the top of those interested in Jackson is the Atlanta Falcons, who plan to release veteran running back Michael Turner, according to several reports. Falcons coach Mike Smith did not deny the speculation surrounding Turner while he attended the 2013 NFL Combine.
“This time of the year, there’s tough decisions that have to be made,” Smith told reporters. “We’re recalibrating our roster as we speak in terms of going through that process. Michael’s under contract right now, and we’ll continue to go through the process in terms of how we’re going to recalibrate it. Myself, (owner) Mr. (Arthur) Blank and (general manager) Thomas (Dimitroff) have had numerous discussions.”
If Jackson decides to head to Atlanta, he will bolster their powerful offense. But the Rams are still making a case to keep Jackson in a Rams uniform. They met with his agent at the NFL scouting combine to discuss a new deal, but talks are in the preliminary stages.
Jackson has 2,395 carries for 10,135 yards and 56 touchdowns over his career, but now will be looking to add a Super Bowl ring to an impressive resume.