Steven Jackson Will Reportedly Void Contract with Rams to Become Free Agent

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2013

St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson is planning to decline his player option for the 2013 season and become a free agent on March 12, reports Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

It's not a surprising development because all indications have pointed this way over the past several weeks. The Rams simply can’t afford to pay $7 million to a running back who turns 30 this coming summer, which is what Jackson was scheduled to make in 2013. In addition, the move saves the Rams the potential PR backlash of having to release Jackson.

Jackson has spent his entire career in St. Louis after being drafted with the 24th overall pick in 2004. He's rushed for over 10,000 yards, accumulated over 3,300 yards receiving and accounted for 64 touchdowns in his nine years with the team.

Thomas reports the veteran workhorse back is hoping to find a Super Bowl contender to join on the open market. He lists the Atlanta Falcons as a potential destination, with Adam Schefter of ESPN reporting that they plan to release longtime starting running back Michael Turner.

It's unclear what type of market will form for a running back who will be 30 years old by the time next season begins. He also has over 2,800 NFL touches under his belt, and all of that punishment will begin to take its toll before long. 

That said, Jackson was still a productive player last season. He crossed the 1,000-yard mark for the eighth straight season and played in all 16 games. He's only missed two games over the past four seasons despite a heavy workload.

That's been the case for Jackson throughout his career. He's not an explosive back in the mold of Adrian Peterson, but a powerhouse that can wear down a defense over the course of a game.

Given his track record, there's little doubt that Jackson will attract interest on the open market. It just comes down to what type of commitment teams are willing to make to a running back with so much mileage on his legs.

Another factor will be Jackson's willingness to accept a role other than being a clear No. 1. If he is, the market should grow as teams could use him alongside another back to form a one-two combination.

His decision won't become official until March 12, so things could still change over the next few weeks, but it certainly sounds like Jackson's days with the Rams are numbered.