The St. Louis Rams announced early this week that they will terminate star halfback Steven Jackson‘s contract at the end of this year. While Jackson has stayed committed to the Rams for the duration of his career, it’s clear that both sides would benefit from this move.
The Rams are a young, up and coming team, with plenty of draft picks over the next two years draft, which they acquired from the Washington Redskins for Robert Griffin III. With those extra picks, they should be able to find a successor for Jackson.
Jackson, who will turn 30 this upcoming off season, has been the embodiment of consistent. He’s been able to run for over 1,000 yards in every year that he’s been a starter, since 2005. The problem for Jackson is that the Rams just haven’t been a successful team.
Letting Jackson walk would give him a chance to sign with a team that can compete for a championship, and give him his first playoff appearance as a professional player.
So why would the Tampa Bay Buccaneers be a good fit for Jackson? The thought might be strange, especially after spending a first round pick on now current rookie Doug Martin, but hear me out.
First, even though the front office has shaken up a bit since Jackson was drafted in 2004, a lot of the same faces are still in the building, and were big advocates of drafting him in 2004. It was said that the entire draft room was split between taking Jackson, and who they would eventually take, Michael Clayton.
Next, LeGarrette Blount is only under contract through the remainder of the year. With the use — or lack thereof — so far on the season, Blount may want to try his luck elsewhere.
While Martin has proved to be an every down back, coach Greg Schiano has made it clear that he likes having multiple options, and even signed D.J. Ware as the season starts to add a veteran presence to the backfield.
Adding Jackson to the Bucs would give them a better veteran presence, and someone that is a complete back that could teach Martin the ropes of being a pro bowl caliber running back, as well as save both of their legs.
Jackson shouldn’t be relied on to carry a full load anymore, but splitting time with Martin should prolong his career. He is also one of the best blocking backs in the NFL, which Martin has had a little trouble adapting to. Ware has seen a ton of the third down action over the past few weeks.
Jackson could easily become the third down running back, or could relegate Martin to that job. This could increase both of their effectiveness, as I think Martin will be rode hard the rest of this year.
The problem some people might say is that he would want to go to a team capable of going to a super bowl. The Buccaneers are an improving team though, and if Josh Freeman can progress through the year like the coaching staff believes he can, there is no reason to think that this team couldn’t compete at that level.
Jackson is what coach Schiano would refer to as a “Buccaneer man.” He is a great example, on and off the field, and could provide the Bucs a great veteran presence in the locker room, and in the community. If Blount were to walk this off season, I think it’s something that Mark Dominik and Schaino should take a long look at.