The Atlanta Falcons decided to part ways with veteran running back Steven Jackson after two seasons. Jackson, who turns 32 in July, was entering the last year of his three-year, $12 million deal with the Falcons that included $4 million guaranteed when the Falcons gave him the boot. The release will save them almost $4 million in cap space.
It is comes to no surprise that the Falcons made this move considering they are in rebuilding mode after hiring a new coaching staff and Jackson being well into the “elderly” years of an NFL running back. New offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is going to bring a zone-blocking scheme where running backs are expected to be successful with a one-cut-and-go mentality. Nothing against Jackson skills, but it is better to have a younger running back with fresher legs in a scheme like this than to have a 32-year-old, beat up veteran back.
Steven Jackson gave a statement about his time in Atlanta saying, “In terms of what we hoped to accomplish as a team on the field, my time as a Falcon was a disappointment, but I will always be grateful for how the city and franchise treated me while I was there.”
Jackson gained 1,250 yards on 347 carries with 12 touchdowns in 27 games with the Falcons. He averaged a career-low 3.5 yards per rush in 2013, his first season in Atlanta. When asked about his NFL future, Jackson stated, “Make no mistake: I can still punish a defense. I still have a warrior’s heart. There are 1,000-yard seasons left in these legs. I know what I am still capable of, and I have every intention of proving it.”
Jackson played his first nine seasons with the St. Louis Rams when they drafted him in the first round back in 2004.