The Green Bay Packers missed out on a golden opportunity to give quarterback Aaron Rodgers a Pro Bowl running back when the Atlanta Falcons signed Steven Jackson to a three-year, $12 million contract. Did the Packers make the right move by passing on Jackson?
At first glance, it appears Green Bay made the wise decision by not signing a running back who has 2,395 carries in his career. That is a lot of mileage on a player that has taken a beating on a bad team over the years.
However, then I noticed how much the Falcons signed him for. The fact that Atlanta was able to land a player as talented as Jackson for $4 million per season is insane. The fact that the Packers passed up on an opportunity to acquire a phenomenal running back who could have made the offense so much better is ridiculous.
The 29-year-old Jackson has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in eight consecutive seasons. He is a powerful back who bulldozes through defenders and is capable of overcoming a poor offensive line with his ability to gain positive yardage when there is no hole in sight.
Green Bay ranked 20th in the NFL last season with 106.4 rushing yards per game, but without Rodgers’ 259 yards they would have been 27th in the league. The Packers have proven that a lack of a quality run game is the top reason they have not reached their true potential on offense the past two seasons.
James Starks, Alex Green and DuJuan Harris have proven talent and could most certainly handle the load next season. All three are capable backs and could easily have a breakout year in 2013. These three players are the reason general manager Ted Thompson is not willing to dip into free agency, even though it is something he must do at some point this offseason.
There are so many reasons for why Green Bay needed to sign Jackson. However, the one thing the Packers do not need is to invest money into a player that could very well get injured, such as what happened to Cedric Benson last year. Thompson and the rest of the organization understand what the team needs, but they are not prepared to spend $12 million for someone that they believe could already exist on the team.
If nothing else, Thompson will use one of his top draft picks on a solid running back if he thinks Starks, Green or Harris do not have what it takes to get the job done next season.