I have to say I share Prisco's assessment (linked to below). I like Steven Jackson a lot. Not upset at all that he's on the team. I just feel that the Falcons need to get back to a point where they are a good running team (i.e. Top 15), not settling to be OK, which I think is the case with Jackson, who IMO is probably somewhere between 20th (if you're being generous) and 30th best RB in the league, i.e. a below average starter. I thought Turner was basically that same player in 2011, and look where it led in 2012.
Now I believe Jackson is basically the same caliber of starting RB that Turner was in 2011. Now Turner rushed for 1300 yards, and that masked the "truth" in many eyes that he wasn't a very good player that added marginal value to the team.
Now, Jackson isn't going to make $7 million like Turner did. He's probably only going to count $2 million. And Jackson's value as a leader n the locker room certainly won't be a negative. Besides giving the Falcons another high profile NAME, it barely moves the needle. It adds more to the Media Guide than it probably does on the football field. http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/blog/pete- ... g-jackson-
Free-agent Musings: Falcons taking a risk signing aging Jackson
By Pete Prisco | Senior NFL Columnist
March 14, 2013 5:36 pm ET
Up until Thursday afternoon, I thought the Atlanta Falcons had a terrific free-agency period, re-signing three of their key players.
Then they went and gave running back Steven Jackson a three-year contract.
You just don't pay aging runners in a league where you can find them in the draft. That's my belief.
But I also remember when I ripped the Falcons for signing Michael Turner as a free agent, and that worked out well for a couple of seasons. I had to admit I was wrong. And I told the principles exactly that when it worked out for the team -- including Turner.
This time, it's different. Jackson is older. He'll turn 30 in July, which is ancient for a running back.
Jackson ran for 1,042 yards last season for the Rams, and his per-carry average was 4.1. Not bad, especially behind a line that wasn't very good. He has 2,395 carries on that body, which is a lot.
Here's something else that would concern me: He averaged 4.4 yards per rush on carries 1-10 in a game and 3.7 on carries 11-20. That's telling to me.
I just don't see the explosiveness through the hole from Jackson anymore. He is more of a grinder. Yes, he's better than Turner, who labored to get to the line last season when he averaged 3.6 per rush, but how much better?
Jackson does take care of his body and will be a great teammate. I just think the Falcons are a fast team that plays on a fast track that needs a fast running back. Jackson isn't that. The Falcons might have been better off drafting a young back to step in and play right away. The Redskins showed last year that it can be done, and in a big way, with Alfred Morris.
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff is one of the best in the NFL, a guy whom I respect greatly. And he has proven many of us wrong before. But this is one that I will question until Jackson shows me different.
You can find backs. There's no need to pay guys when they're turning 30. This might turn out to be really a one-year deal and, if so, it might work out. But even so, why not draft a kid and turn him loose?
-- One of the signings I really liked from Thursday was the Saints getting Steelers corner Keenan Lewis. He is a smooth cover player who is coming off his best season. He can play man or zone, and the Saints badly needed an upgrade. His best football is in front of him. In a division with the Falcons, you have to defend the pass.
-- Matt Cassel to the Vikings. Oh, boy. If Christian Ponder doesn't work out, the Vikings are sunk, anyway. Cassel is just backup. That's all he ever should have been. So if the Vikings think he is the answer, they should forget it.
-- The Eagles have totally revamped their secondary. I like the signings of corners Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams. I also think if Kenny Phillips is healthy, he will help. Patrick Chung, the other safety that they signed, isn't very good. So give the Eagles good grades for three of the signings, but the fourth not so much.
-- Some will say the Colts overpaid for 49ers defensive end Ricky Jean Francois. But he's the type of player whom teams should sign, players who have their best football in front of them. He did a nice job in a reserve role for the 49ers and will be a starter in Indianapolis. The money is high with four years and $22 million, but this is going to be a nice signing in the end.
Tags: Bradley Fletcher, Cary Williams, Christian Ponder, Keenan Lewis, Kenny Phillips, Matt Cassel, Michael Turner, Patrick Chung, Ricky Jean Francois, Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, NFL