The market for Steven Jackson
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It might be time for Steven Jackson to update his LinkedIn profile.

The Pro Bowl running back became a former employee of the St. Louis Rams last week when he voided the final year of his contract.

Goodbye, Gateway Arch. Hello, free agency.

So what's next for the newly unemployed 29-year-old?

Well I don't think he'll be flipping through the wanted ads.

Jackson should find work quickly. Free agency begins at 12:00 a.m. Tuesday morning so it's possible Jackson could find a new job within the next 24 hours.

Or Jackson, a Ram since 2004, could take his time and wait to be wined and dined a bit before making a decision.

Any team that signs Jackson will be getting a perennial 1,000-yard threat (eight seasons in a row with 1,000+ rushing yards) with size (6-foot-2, 240 pounds) and a knack for catching passes out of the backfield (391.9 receiving ypg over his last eight seasons).

Yes, Jackson saw his yardage total dip for the third straight season in 2012 but I'm not convinced that his best years are behind him. Jackson's workload decreased significantly last season thanks to the emergence of 2012 seventh round draft pick Daryl Richardson (98 rushes for 475 yards in his rookie season). Jackson's carry average (16 rushes per game) was his lowest since his rookie season in 2004.

Richardson's presence is ultimately what drove Jackson away from St. Louis.

"I'm not ready to step back and just become a primary backup or reduced role guy, to be part of a running back by committee," Jackson said when explaining his decision to cut ties with the team that drafted him almost nine years ago.

Jackson won't get Chris Johnson money (four years, $53.5 million) this offseason but it sounds like he's fine with that. After enduring nine seasons of mediocrity in St. Louis (his two postseason appearances both came in his rookie season), Jackson wants one thing and one thing only: the chance to finally win a Super Bowl.

Luckily for S-Jax, several playoff teams will be in the market for a running back this offseason. One of those teams is the Green Bay Packers, fresh off a disappointing second-round postseason exit.

Led by Aaron Rodgers and an arsenal of receivers that included Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones, the Packers dominated through the air last season (ninth in the NFL with 4,049 passing yards). The ground game, however, was an area of weakness.

Alex Green paced Green Bay's underachieving rushing attack with an uninspiring 464 yards on 135 carries. By doing so, Green became the fourth different player to lead the Packers in rushing in the last four seasons. No Green Bay back has led the squad in rushing in back-to-back seasons since Ryan Grant led the team three years in a row between 2007 and 2009.

Jackson would provide some much needed stability at the running back position while also giving Rodgers another capable target in the receiving game.

Another obvious fit for Jackson would be Detroit. The Lions' offense has become dangerously one-dimensional in recent seasons. Last season's debacle (four wins after winning 10 the year before) proved that Detroit can't be a serious contender without a running game.

Heading to the Motor City would reunite Jackson with his former head coach Scott Linehan. Now the Lions' offensive coordinator, Linehan coached Jackson in St. Louis from 2006 to 2008. Jackson's best fantasy season came under Linehan's tutelage in 2006 (career-high 1,528 yards and 13 TD).

There's always been an unwritten rule in Denver: you can never have enough running backs. Mike Shanahan bought into this mantra during his tenure with the Broncos and now it appears current head coach John Fox has adopted the same philosophy.

The Broncos rolled four deep with Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball last season. Never one to turn down a fresh set of legs, Fox will certainly give Jackson a look now that he's made himself available. From a fantasy point of view, this would probably be the least desirable setting for Jackson given Denver's belief in the running back by committee.

Denver, Detroit and Green Bay should all be in the running for Jackson's services but the leader in the clubhouse has to be the Atlanta Falcons.

In a recent appearance on ESPN, Jackson said that the Falcons were "one running back away from the Super Bowl."

Jackson's critique is a little insulting but he's not wrong. Atlanta's ground game was a disaster last season. Short yardage specialist Michael Turner (800 yards on a career-low 3.6 yards per carry) was a bust and his backfield-mate Jacquizz Rodgers (362 yards, one TD) wasn't much better. Overall, the Falcons finished 29th in the league in rushing with an average of 87.3 ypg.

Turner has already been cut and it's doubtful that Rodgers has the chops to handle the backfield duties all by himself. It all just makes too much sense.

And if that wasn't enough to entice Jackson, the Falcons' title hopes just received a major boost from the news that tight end Tony Gonzalez is expected to return for another season.

We've never seen Jackson in anything but gold and blue but the time was right for him to leave St. Louis. The fantasy world will be waiting on pins and needles as Jackson decides what to put on his new business cards.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Jesse Pantuosco at jpantuosco@sportsnetwork.com.

WTAT-TV FOX24 Charleston SC :: Advertise with us!