On Friday, the Atlanta Falcons dropped a bombshell by releasing John Abraham, Dunta Robinson and Michael Turner. With the release of Michael Turner, which was reportedly due to a failed physical, that opens a spot at running back for the Falcons. The Falcons are very happy with Jacquizz Rodgers and they also like Jason Snelling as a situational back. As happy as the Falcons are with Quizz, it's imperative in today's NFL to have two backs that you can rely on to tote the load if needed.
I might be a little tardy to the party on this one (admit it that was an amazing Kroy Biermann reference) but what about Steven Jackson? Jackson has voided the last year of his contract and is now a free agent. Jackson is 29 and has played his entire nine year career with the St Louis Rams. The big question now is if Jackson is out for that one last big money deal or if he wants to play for a Super Bowl contender. If if the answer is both of those, the Falcons have now cleared enough cap room that they could give Jackson a very fair offer.
One interesting note is that Jackson has some parallels with Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez. When Gonzo came to the Falcons, he was one of the best at his position but had never won a playoff game, had never gone to the Super Bowl and had played his entire career with one team. Jackson is also one of the best at his position, has never been to a Super Bowl and has played his entire career with one team. The one difference is that Jackson has won a playoff game but only one. If you remember back to 2004-2005 season, the St Louis Rams won their wildcard game but then got blown out by the Falcons by the tune of 47-17. My bet is that after playing for nine years with one team and wallowing in mediocrity, Jackson wants to go to a winning organization and believe it or not that's what Atlanta is right now.
One great thing about Steven Jackson is his durability. Over the last four years he's only missed two games. He's also very consistent. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards in every year except his rookie season. He also holds onto the rock. He didn't lose a fumble last season and has only two lost fumbles over the last three years. Another great thing about Jackson that makes me think that he can fit well with the Falcons is that he can catch the ball out of the backfield. In his nine year career he has 407 reception (on 472 targets). In 2006, he had 90 receptions! The lowest year for receptions he's had over the last eight years is 38. During his nine years with the Rams, Jackson has had six different head coaches. Jackson's consistency has been impressive when you consider how often the team and it's philosophy have changed.
Another positive to adding a running back in free agency is that it would add to our flexibility in the draft. This is a weak year for elite RBs, although there are some interesting prospects that could be picked up later in the draft, and not having to worry about getting a running back would aid in our ability to add to Mike Nolan's weapons on defense.