As the NFL trade deadline was over after the official clock struck 4 p.m. on Thursday, the St. Louis Rams, like many teams, didn't make any moves. There was some hype surrounding certain teams and players, but only a handful of substantial trades actually went through.
The Rams were a part of those potential trade rumors as the deadline approached, yet there was no action. The biggest talks were those about steadily declining 29-year-old running back Steven Jackson.
Having one of the worst seasons in his career so far, the ninth-year player is averaging a measly 3.7 yards per carry having tallied only 403 yards and one touchdown on the season. His longest run? That would be only 23 yards.
With the Rams clearly headed in a completely new direction, it is a wonder why St. Louis didn't try to push him more to another team. Showing much less productivity than rookie running back Daryl Richardson, Jackson is slowly passing the torch to the younger guys in the backfield as they continue to see more touches.
But now it is set that Steven Jackson will be with the Rams for the rest of the season, and as CBS Sports first reported, will become an unrestricted free agent heading into 2013.
So why did St. Louis make a mistake?
Because now is the time to let the youngsters take over. With Jackson gone, both Daryl Richardson and Isiah Pead would get valuable playing time they need to help them truly develop and understand the way the game is played in the NFL. Now, Jackson will continue to hinder their growth as he takes up more touches per game while simultaneously not putting up the numbers Richardson has so far this year.
So now, as the 240-pound running back looks to head to a new destination next season, the Rams will gain nothing in return. If traded away, the Rams could have acquired another young piece of talent, or a draft pick at the very least. But now, they will walk away from the deal with nothing as Jackson walks right out the door.
St. Louis has made the mistake of not getting a deal done, limiting potentially valuable playing time for the younger running backs, and seemingly letting Steven Jackson go at the end of the season as opposed to gaining something in return right now.
Although he has been a dynamic part of the Rams offense for years now, the franchise made a costly mistake and now have no chance in gaining any value for Jackson before he openly leaves at the end of the year.