For the first time in his nine-year career, St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson will get a chance to test the waters of free agency. He has to void his contract first, but that now seems inevitable. Also inevitable are reports of interested teams surfacing already. The latest report says that the Atlanta Falcons are the most "likely" destination for the Rams' all-time leading rusher.
From Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports:
To piggyback on @jthom1 report on Steven Jackson, likely landing spot seems to be Atlanta based on what was happening at combine.— Jason Cole (@JasonColeYahoo) February 26, 2013
The Falcons are expected to release Michael Turner, 31, and his cap hit of $6.9 million dollars. Now, that suggests that the Falcons have no intention of giving Jackson a $7 million deal, which Adam Schefter said was a possibility. Any team paying $7 million for a 30-year old running back seems a little far fetched, even for Jackson. Atlanta might still be willing to pay more than the Rams, and give Jackson a "win-now" shot in the later part of his career.
As for the Falcons, it would be an all-Beavers backfield, kind of, with Jackson and Jaquizz Rodgers both Oregon State alums. I'm not particularly sure why the Falcons would opt to spend big on a free agent running back with Rodgers in the fold and the draft just around the corner, not to mention the team's other needs.
The Rams have been taking from the Falcons for a long time. Sometimes it works (Les Snead, Harvey Dahl); sometimes it doesn't (Devaney). Seems only fitting the Falcons get something back, I guess.