If the Price Is Right, Steven Jackson Would Be a Smart Move for the Packers

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2013

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 30:  Running back Steven Jackson #39 of the St. Louis Rams rushes against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 30, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

As we head into the offseason, we once again begin looking at the Green Bay Packers backfield.

While I am a big fan of DuJuan Harris, adding another talented back wouldn't be a bad idea, and recently the concept that Steven Jackson could be that guy has taken hold over at ESPN.

Both Kevin Seifert, the NFC North blogger at ESPN, and John Clayton feel as though Jackson would be a good fit for the Packers offense.

I happen to agree—if the price is right.

As it stands, Jackson is under contract to the St. Louis Rams, but he has until the start of free agency in March to void the last year of his contract.

According to Spotrac.com, Jackson stands to make almost $9 million (including signing bonus) but if he's looking for a chance to perhaps win a title before he retires, he's going to have to leave the Rams.

In which case, he'll be looking at a lot less money. As Clayton points out, he might be open to about $5 million and the prospects of a Super Bowl ring, which make him affordable for the Packers, who don't tend to spend big money in free agency.

With money out of the way, the question becomes whether or not he fits.

The Packers took a look at Cedric Benson last year, and he played very well before he got hurt—Jackson is a far better back, even at his age, and would be a much more dynamic addition than bringing back Benson.

He'd also fit well in tandem with Harris, who is a very good back but still a little raw. Now, splitting with Harris may turn Jackson off, but he has been willing to split carries over the last few years of his career, so it shouldn't be a problem.

Jackson has topped 1,000 yards every year he's been in the league, save his rookie season. He's also a solid pass-blocker and able to catch the ball out of the backfield. In short, he's a versatile threat whom you can keep on the field for any number of downs.

Injuries had been a big issue for the first half of his career, but since 2009 Jackson has missed only two games and didn't miss any in 2010 or 2012.

He doesn't score a ton of touchdowns, but Harris can, and Jackson still averaged a more-than-respectable 4.1 yards per carry last season behind a notoriously poor offensive line.

Harris averaged 4.6, but that was with significantly fewer carries than Jackson. Besides Harris and a barely used Ryan Grant, no other Packers running back broke four yards per carry—the next closest was James Starks who, over six games, averaged just 3.6 yards per carry.

Jackson could be very productive behind the Packers line, even with the issues it had in 2012.

Is he a "must-have" player? No, though the Packers do need to address the backfield at some point, even if Harris turns out to be as good as he seems to be.

However for the right price, the Packers would get a highly productive, driven and dynamic back who could be a big piece of their quest for a Super Bowl in 2013.


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