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Make Steven Jackson a deal

Two stud running backs at the four year point of their careers. Which one is which?

running back #1
4,205 yards rushing, 892 carries, 47 TDs
97 receptions, 1,033 yards receiving, 5 TDs

running back #2
4,249 yards rushing, 971 carries, 30 TDs
190 receptions, 1,586 yards receiving, 6 TDs

Both are pretty impressive lines for four years of work, and any Rams fan can tell that player #2 is none other than our very own Steven Jackson...who we're dying to see suit up for training camp. Running back #1 is Larry Johnson, who held out from the Cheifs camp last summer before signing a six year deal, $43.2 million deal with $19 million guaranteed.

According to a report in the Post-Dispatch this morning, the Rams have made an offer to Jackson worth about $7 million a year - no details on the length or guaranteed money - putting his salary in the same neighborhood as LT, LJ, and Clinton Portis. Jackson, per sources, wants a deal with $20 million guaranteed. Darren McFadden, who has yet to see an NFL snap, got a 6 year, $60 million contract with $26 million guaranteed.

Honestly, Jackson's demand is a reasonable as much as athlete pay can be called reasonable anymore, but I digress. Jackson now has more value than Larry Johnson did when he chose to hold out, in no small part thanks to Jackson's receiving ability which makes him a dual threat. And paid less than Clinton Portis? Come on. Plus, Jackson's only 25-years-old, making it highly likely he'll play the better part of each season he's under a new contract. Larry Johnson was 28 when he signed his deal. LJ held out until August 22 last season. Jackson doesn't have that much leverage thanks to the voided CBA, which has made it so that a player has to be in camp 30 days before the first game of the season, next Friday, August 8 in this case, or lose a year of his eligibility and thus a year further away from free agency.

Jackson's not at all out of line to be asking for what he's asking for. And, while it's hard to say how the Rams feel about his position in the negotiations, each side seems remarkably amenable during the whole thing.