Long-time St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson signed a 3-year, $12 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons late Thursday night. The move for Jackson comes just two weeks after the Falcons released Michael Turner due to failing a physical.
Jackson will now take over as the lead back in Atlanta after Turner’s dismissal. The move for Jackson looks to be a slight upgrade from Turner, who averaged a career-low 3.6 yards per carry last season.
Stephen Jackson played nine seasons with the St. Louis Rams before departing to Atlanta Thursday. The 29-year-old rushed for over 1,000 yards in all but his rookie season and has more career rushing yards than any other active player in the NFL with 10,135.
Jackson is a powerful back, similar to Turner, but with a little more height and speed coming out of the backfield. A product of Oregon State, Jackson is the Rams all-time leading rusher but couldn’t come to terms with the team this offseason and looked to free agency instead.
It didn’t take long for Jackson to find a new home, and the Falcons seem like a perfect fit. Jackson has never had much talent around him in St. Louis, but he now joins a team that is ready to contend for a Super Bowl.
The Falcons deal with Jackson could make for a deadly combination when the season begins in September. Matt Ryan led the Falcons to the best record in the NFC last season and put up the best numbers of his career, so adding Jackson can only give that offense more options.
The Falcons tight-end Tony Gonzalez decided against retirement earlier this week, giving Matt Ryan another chance at a Super Bowl run with one of his most reliable targets. The addition of Jackson on Thursday compliments the Falcons running game as Jacquizz Rodgers is expected to share some of the work load.
The Jackson-Rodgers combination could work wonders for the Falcons, as Jackson is more of a “run you over” type of back, while Rodgers relies on his speed and quickness.
Atlanta lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game last season, and you know giving up a 10-point halftime lead motivates them every day going forward. Steven Jackson signs and the running back debate ends in Atlanta, setting up an offense that could dominate the NFC once again.