Fred Jackson is a very good player and person. He can carry a workload and he is a very smart player. He is also on the wrong side of a running back's lifespan and there is a new stud in Buffalo.
Can the Bills trade him for a high value and replace his production? Here's my plan.
There is always a team that is looking for that final piece. There are some teams who will need a new starter. Fred Jackson's talents can be more utilized elsewhere at this point in his career and with a new staff headed toward Buffalo, now's the time.
I feel like there are a few teams that would have an interest. Buffalo could also probably take a fourth-round pick, like they did with Marshawn Lynch, and not have to worry about it coming back to haunt them. I came up with four teams that could fit.
The Jaguars are a mess. They have two quarterbacks that don't seem to be more than backups in Gabbert and Henne (and may add Tebow to the mix). They have an All-Pro running back who has probably played his final game for them. And an offensive line with one reasonable starter. The lone bright spot on offense is a young, talented set of receivers (Shorts and Blackmon), and Marcedes Lewis. Oh, they may also have a new coaching staff next year.
Well, I hate to send him there, but why not? The Jaguars don't have a "Herschel Walker Trade" to rebuild their team. Jackson could provide stability in that backfield for a few years AND start for them. They might be willing to bite given their awful predicament.
The Chargers have the porcelain Ryan Mathews. It appears he must have another player to share the backfield with. Jackie Battle is not that player. Mathews has speed and catches the ball well, but his between-the-tackles running must be questioned because of his durability.
Enter Fred Jackson. This one could be tough to read. Norv Turner's staff will be gone on Monday and the probability of the front office being jettisoned is high. If A.J. Smith can survive, Buddy Nix could have a chip to use to begin talks. But Buddy Nix may be gone, too.
The Green Bay Packers have a collection of washed-up, fragile and inconsistent running backs in their stable. Their situation is so bad that when Ryan Grant, who couldn't even get on a roster until midseason, was cut by the Redskins, the Packers scooped him up.
It's become painfully obvious that Cedric Benson isn't the answer. James Starks is fragile and inconsistent. Alex Green is more of a third-down back, and Ryan Grant has a such a violent running style that his body is crumbling.
Grant will do through the playoffs, but what then? I know the Packers and Ted Thompson like to build through the draft, but if it only cost them a fourth-round pick, would they bite? It's worth a try. The idea of having a stable backfield to pair with Aaron Rodgers may be too great to pass on, not to mention the pass-blocking skills Jackson possesses.
I realize the Falcons have four running backs they rotate, but I don't feel like any of them have the rounded skill set that Jackson does.
Michael Turner has lost the ability to run effectively for more than about ten carries a game. Jacquizz Rodgers is more of a third-down back. Jason Snelling is fullback-sized with limited upside, and Antone Smith is a small scatback with return skills.
I don't see them dropping Rodgers, but I really feel like Turner's days in Atlanta are numbered. Neither Snelling nor Smith can do what Jackson can and it could give Mike Smith and Dirk Koetter an unbelievable one-two punch to pair with their aerial attack.
That leaves us with one question: How do you replace Fred's production? I love C.J. Spiller. He's an irreplaceable talent. I still feel like he needs 20 targets, but not necessarily 20 touches. His speed change-of-direction is crazy, but he is still smaller and absolutely susceptible to bigger hits because of it. Anyone remember a guy named Jahvid Best? Thought so.
About 10 years ago, Buffalo took a chance on a running back who had been dealt a devastating knee injury. That player was Willis McGahee. What I propose is that the Bills take a hard look at a running back who sustained an equally horrible knee injury. That's Marcus Lattimore.
Lattimore is just the complement that Spiller needs. He could be the power back that makes him so much more effective.
Now, chances are he'll be ready to go at the time of training camp. His injury occurred early in the college football season. It would take quite a bit of evaluation and it's risky, but the reward could be immense.