- Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
How often do NFL rumors involve the Green Bay Packers on the first day of the league calendar day, also known as free agency? Not often, especially with a well-known player who could make a huge difference during the 2013-14 NFL season.
According to ProFootballTalk, the Packers are the favorite to sign free-agent running back Steven Jackson. During the 2012-13 season, Jackson had 257 carries for 1,042 yards and four touchdowns. For his career, Jackson has 10,135 rushing yards with 56 touchdowns.
At age 30 (in July), the nine-year veteran has spent his entire career with the St. Louis Rams. He has never played in fewer than 12 games in any of those seasons. Since the 2009-10 season, Jackson has missed just two games. That type of durability is needed in a backfield that has too many oft-injured players.
This reminds me of when the New England Patriots acquired Corey Dillon before they won their third Super Bowl during their dynasty in the early 2000s. The veteran running back gave the Patriots offense enough of a boost to repeat as champions during the 2004-05 season.
Can the Packers afford Jackson? They may want to complete extensions with Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji. They also need to add another defensive lineman, especially if Jerel Worthy hasn’t recovered from his torn ACL that he suffered on Dec. 30.
Here’s how I look at it: Erik Walden just signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts. If Walden is worth $4 million per season (he isn’t), then so is Jackson. Just don’t offer him too much guaranteed money. A power back could help Rodgers when he faces two-man zone defenses. He’s a fine complement to DuJuan Harris. James Starks isn’t reliable.
Jackson and the Packers make sense. Let’s see if Jackson is willing to sign a reasonable contract to join a legitimate Super Bowl contender.