NFL Trade Rumors: Why Cardinals Would Be Wise to Deal for Steven Jackson

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystOctober 24, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 14:  Steven Jackson #39 of the St. Louis Rams looks on during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Unlike other sports such as baseball and basketball, the trade deadline usually comes and goes in the National Football League with much more of a whimper than a bang. But there's at least one rumor making the rounds that could make a lot of sense for a floundering football team in the desert.

According to Rotoworld, the NFL Network's Michael Lombardi reports that the St. Louis Rams are "shopping several players" prior to the trade deadline, and speculation is that running back Steven Jackson is among them.

There are a couple of reasons to believe that the 29-year-old Jackson, who has 380 yards on 101 carries this season, could be available.

First, the team recently let Jackson void the final year of his contract even though he didn't meet the incentives necessary to do so, which would seem to indicate that at the very least the Rams intend to let Jackson test free agency; and that he may not fit into the Rams' long-term plans.

Also, rookie tailback Daryl Richardson has played well for St. Louis, and as the youngster continues to eat into Jackson's touches, head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead may have decided that Jackson is expendable.

If that truly is the case then the Arizona Cardinals should at the very least kick the tires on a deal for Jackson, as he could be the piece that helps the team save a season that's rapidly getting away from them.

After four straight wins to open the season, the Cardinals have dropped three games in a row heading into their Monday night showdown with the San Francisco 49ers. This is due in large part to their inability to run the ball consistently or protect the quarterback, well, at all.

Granted, Jackson can't help with the latter, and with more career carries than any active running back in the National Football League those tires I referenced earlier have quite a bit of wear on them.

However, if there's been a poster boy for gaining tough yardage behind lousy offensive lines over the past several seasons it's been Steven Jackson, who has topped 1,000 yards on the ground each of the past seven years.

Tell me the Cardinals couldn't use that right now.

All this isn't to say that the Cardinals should give up the farm to get him, nor do I know whether the Rams would be willing to deal Jackson to a division rival (if at all, that's why it's a rumor, after all).

With that said though, the Cardinals are at a crossroads after their hot start generated buzz about a return to the playoffs in the Valley of the Sun. And if the team has any real intention of making a run at getting there, something has to be done about an offense that's getting worse by the week.

What's the harm in picking up the phone?