Fans at the Dome for Thursday night's NFL game between the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals might want to pay special attention to running back Steven Jackson. According to a report from Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, this is likely Jackson's last season in St. Louis.
Jackson has just one year left on his contract, and is due $7 million in 2013. This is his age 29 season. Prisco says that the Rams and Jackson reached an agreement in September that would allow him to void the final year of his deal.
That's the part of the report that seems odd to me. Why renegotiate? Unless they've moved around his salary numbers, the Rams could just cut Jackson and be done with it. The guaranteed money has already been paid.
UPDATE: The Rams confirmed to TST that they have indeed negotiated a deal with Jackson that will void his contract after this season.
On the other hand, as strange as it seems to imagine a Rams team without Jackson, it doesn't shock me that they would part ways after this season. Jackson's been bothered by a groin injury already this year, and $7 million is a large chunk of change for a 30-year old running back.
You knew this day was coming, or will come. It's part of the inevitable changes that come with turning over an organization. In the short term, keep an eye on Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead. Those two seem to have a lock on the team's future running back duties.
Richardson already has a head start, splitting time with Jackson this season. Pead has been slow to find his way in the NFL, but some adjustment time should come as no surprise for an outside runner coming from a spread offense.
The team locked up Chris Long and James Laurinaitis this fall, keeping those two from walking away as free agents in 2013. The most notable of the team's free agents after this season is now Danny Amendola, who looks like he could be on his way to a big pay day.
Stay tuned for more information about this report.