Falcons Release RB Steven Jackson
The Steven Jackson experiment is over. Two years after bringing on the former St. Louis Rams running back, the Atlanta Falcons have admitted their mistake and have reportedly decided to move on in a different direction at the position.
The move clears up nearly $4 million in cap space for the Falcons, who will likely start over at running back via the draft or free agency.
Atlanta is right to move on from the aging back, regardless of whether or not Jackson could still come back and be effective. Devonta Freeman is the early leading candidate to take over the starting gig in the Falcons’ offensive backfield, but due to a lack of size and experience, Atlanta is sure to add competing talent. Freeman projects as more of a complementary piece, so the Falcons could look to start over early in the 2015 NFL Draft. That could put tantalizing running back prospects such as Melvin Gordan, Todd Gurley and T.J. Yeldon well on their radar come May.
Despite obvious regression signs and age (Jackson will be 32 in July), Jackson contends that he is not considering retirement. At this point it’s not completely impossible Jackson could have something left to give a contending team, given the fact that most of his ineffectiveness the past two years has been due to nagging leg injuries.
That being said, Jackson still looked stiff and rigid and no longer profiles as an explosive and versatile feature back. His best bet would be landing somewhere in a short-yardage role, but he’s not likely to be finding many suitors with such a saturated running back market this year. It’s quite likely we’ve seen the last of S-Jax in the NFL.
Jackson finished 2014 with 707 rushing yards and six rushing scores and he could exit the league with eight 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Jackson said recently he can still “punish” defenses if given the proper workload, but it’s doubtful he’ll be given the chance to prove himself right.
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