The St. Louis Post Dispatch is reporting that Steven Jackson will void the final year of his contract to become a free agent.
Pushing Jackson in this direction may be what the St. Louis Rams wanted as they have given indications they would release Jackson before the 2013 season.
For what reason is a mystery.
Jackson would be entering the final year of a 6-year $44.8 million dollar deal. The cap hit for 2013 is $7 million.
This is where it makes no sense from the Rams perspective. Jackson is the best player on the team. Beyond his physical prowess as a tailback he brings leadership, a work ethic, and a tenacity second to none and one the young St. Louis Rams could learn from. These attributes are not running rampant in St. Louis.
Jackson has had at least 1,350 yards from scrimmage each of the past five years. If you saw him run in 2012, he hasn't lost anything, finishing every run hard. He is the Rams all time leading rusher. Jackson averaged 4.4 and 4.1 yards per carry each of the past two seasons.
For what purpose would St. Louis cut Jackson? To save $7 million for one season? What would they do with that $7 million for one season?
I have no idea either.
If S-Jax had multiple years left, then I get it. Saving $7 million for one season is baffling.
St. Louis has nothing but young unproven players behind Jackson. A talented group for sure, as we saw a season ago, but unproven. The loss of Jackson is a scenario the Rams have seemingly been preparing for.
Potential leading suitors that have already came up are the Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, and Green Bay Packers. All Super Bowl contenders.
If these Super Bowl contenders are that interested in Jackson, the belief must be he has a lot left in the tank.
So by pushing a departure with Jackson are the St. Louis Rams sending the message to their team, fans and the rest of the NFL that they are not serious contenders right now?
St. Louis finished 7-8 last season and played San Francisco to a tie before beating them three weeks later. They had the potential to win every game, but three in 2012. The St. Louis can be contenders right now. They owe it to Steven Jackson, to let him be there for that potential that is right around the corner under the leadership of Head Coach Jeff Fisher. Jackson is the kind of player that Fisher loves.
Perhaps the Rams motivation will be clearer in coming months but right now this is a move that makes zero sense.
Jackson has until March 12 to make his decision to become the most coveted free agent running back on the market.