There was going to be a bidding war for Steven Jackson at the trade deadline. The St. Louis Rams have given Jackson his freedom, so they might as well get something for him before he chases a title in another city.
The big, reliable running back stayed in St. Louis and will be suiting up next week against the San Francisco 49ers. And assuming he stays healthy, he'll probably eclipse 1,000 yards for the eighth straight season.
However, it wouldn't be surprising if the Rams turned over many of his carries to backup Daryl Richardson once the Rams are officially eliminated from the postseason chase. They need to know that Richardson can handle the full load since Jackson will be moving on after the season, although all early indications are that Richardson is a more-than-competent replacement.
While there may have been a shortage of teams willing to give up anything of value for the Rams' all-time rushing leader, those same franchises won't be scared to offer a two- or three-year contract. So let's take a look some of the possible landing spots for Jackson in 2013.
Ted Thompson could be scared off by the failed Cedric Benson signing, but he's smarter than that. The Packers are averaging a meager 90.1 yards per contest and could surely use a steady running presence.
Imagine an offense that had Aaron Rodgers and Steven Jackson in the backfield. The secondary wouldn't need to improve. They wouldn't even have to play. They could relax and watch that offense score on every drive.
Odds: 5 to 1
Don't laugh. The Bengals could really use Jackson, and he would be an excellent fit. Considering how poorly BenJarvus Green-Ellis has performed, the Bengals would have to entertain the thought.
Would Jackson want to play for the Bengals? That's debatable. The franchise isn't much different than his current employer when you take into account the young quarterback and inconsistent defense.
Odds: 20 to 1
This is a much better match than the Bengals: a team that has an incredible aerial attack with a proven starter in Matt Ryan.
The defense is still worrisome. But if they can draft some pass-rushing help and get a healthy Brent Grimes back, the Falcons might be the best bet.
However, he'd have to convince the front office that he won't fall off as quickly as Michael Turner.
Odds: 7 to 1
Any veteran who is chasing a ring will be linked to the Pats. That's just the way it is. And for good reason, just replace Rodgers with Tom Brady in the above statement.
However, there are signs that Brady is not the same quarterback he once was. He doesn't seem to have it every week and his team doesn't have that we're-going-to-take-the-ball-and-score swagger. New England did annihilate Jackson's Rams in London, but can they do it consistently?
Odds: 12 to 1
There wasn't as much buzz about the Broncos making a play for Jackson as there should have been. Willis McGahee signed a four-year deal in 2011, but he is 31 years old.
It'd be somewhat fun to have Jackson and Peyton Manning on the same team. Jackson could certainly help the Broncos too. It's just difficult to see them letting go of McGahee without an injury since he is still averaging 4.5 yards per carry.
Odds: 25 to 1