Posted March 14, 2013

Steven Jackson to sign with Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons, NFL Free Agency
Steven Jackson rushed for over 1,000 yards every season but his first, in 2004, with the Rams. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Steven Jackson rushed for over 1,000 yards every season but his first with the Rams. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Michael Turner out, Steven Jackson in.

For the Atlanta Falcons and their high-octane offense, that’s a net gain. The Falcons and Jackson agreed to a three-year deal on Thursday, a move that should bring a little more giddy-up to a run game that finished 29th in the league last season.

Turner was not the only problem on the ground, but the aging veteran certainly appeared to be wearing down in recent seasons — he managed just 800 yards rushing last year. Jackson, meanwhile, has not finished below the 1K line since his rookie season of 2004. He still made it to 1,042 yards in 2012, despite a continued reduction in his carries.

Jackson’s also one of the best all-around backs in the game, adept as a pass-catcher or blocker. He’s averaged 45 catches per season in his career and should help Atlanta keep Matt Ryan upright.

The Falcons had been relatively quiet in free agency up until Jackson’s signing, their lone move being the re-signing of offensive tackle Sam Baker. However, tight end Tony Gonzalez announced earlier this week that he planned to return in 2013 (the two sides continue to work toward a new contract). Those moves plus Jackson’s addition all but guarantee that the Falcons will put up a ton of points in 2013.

Jackson may no longer be the back that rushed for 1,528 yards in 2006 and 1,416 in 2009. But he remains a reliable, hard-nosed runner, capable of aiding an offense no matter what he’s asked to do.

Grade: A. We’ll see how the money shakes out here — the Falcons probably gave themselves an out after one or two years, since Jackson will turn 30 in July. They may not want to reverse course, though, if Jackson fits in here as well as it looks like he will.

20 comments
GTT
GTT

I was not for adding an older RB, but his contract is friendly and he'll be motivated and hungry being on a team that finished 10 yards short of the Super Bowl. Re-signing Sam Baker was significant as well. An oddity about that is that occurred on Tuesday and has yet to be reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, three days later. Amazing.

riley8
riley8

<Yawn>  Replace one over the hill RB with another over the hill RB.  Nothing to see here.

Wilf
Wilf

Good signing for the Falcons.

They are still a bit underwhelming on both lines though. They need to address that in the draft if they want to be serious

about a championship. Time will tell

HisDudeness88
HisDudeness88

Good pick up. Don't worry other NFC teams, all you have to do is stop Ryan, Gonzo, Roddie, Julio, Douglas, and now Jackson. Who needs a defense when you can score 50 on any given sunday?

jeffcooper71
jeffcooper71

This is all fine and good but until the O line and D line improve we are not going to the Superbowl.

Turner may be getting older and yes his numbers went down but no running back (maybe Barry Sanders) can overcome a poor O line.

Craig
Craig

With Jackson and Quizz, the Falcons are going to be set.  Two very different running styles, but both good blockers and good receivers.  The fact that they're both OS grads speaks well for that program too, especially considering that folks like Texas didn't think Quizz could play at the college level.  Two great people who will compliment each other and provide the Falcons with even more challenges to the other team's defense.  Great move, Arthur!  

pandah462
pandah462

Golly, he sure looks strong.

Edward28
Edward28

Let me be the first to blast the Steelers with Jackson going to Atlanta. Apparently, the Rooneys, Colbert and company have taken a page from the Pirates playbook and have decided to do nothing. Hey, as long as they're filling the stands, who cares?

Here's a team that mailed it in last year. That's right, mailed it in. Complete gutlessness---playing for a paycheck. And now this? Jackson was a natural for the Steelers. Instead, we may get Beanie Wells.   Gutlessness from the top to the bottom of this franchise.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @riley8 Did all of the big words in the article make you tired?

Julie1
Julie1

Jackson may end up being a bit more productive than Turner, but I think Michael's over-the-hillness has been exaggerated. I agree with Wilf that it's the lines that most need improvement. The O-line to give Ryan time and open holes to run through; the D-line to take away those same things from the opponent. Good lines make skill players better. If Turner had played behind the Hogs (of the '80s) last year, he would have a much better YPC average than the one he is being criticized for. And it's good YPC that the Falcons need from a running back, not total yards, so Jackson may thrive for a few years more, even with the mileage he already has.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @HisDudeness88 And this will give Falcon fan even more reason to whine and complain when they are never high enough in Don Banks'  weekly power rankings.

Chris8
Chris8

 @HisDudeness88 "Who needs a defense when you can score 50 on any given sunday?"

 

Why don't you ask the Green Bay Packers about that one.

jeffcooper71
jeffcooper71

 @HisDudeness88 "Who needs a defense when you can score 50 on any given sunday?"

A sane person.

I love the Falcons but really? If you are hoping for Superbowl win this move changes nothing. The O line and D line need help. When they are fixed we can talk about being a team that should win it all.

mwr5053
mwr5053

 @Edward28 The Steelers aren't really going to be an excellent offensive team again until they can remove Big Ben from the equation. He's highly overpaid and overrated about now. I think he's suffered brain damage of some kind given how he refuses to throw a pass away but will stand around for seconds to take a sack or throw a lame duck pass as he's going down. This is from a Steelers fan who really is not making this claim because of Ben's off the field problems. I just think he's not helping this team get better anymore.

lionoah
lionoah

 @Edward28 Dont question the Rooney's man. 70's, 90's, 00's the Stillers get to a Super Bowl. Power running, strong defense, dumb QB with a big arm. They're biding time, but be sure they will eat and eat good. Jackson? Max 1 year at the top left...he's good for a team going to the Superbowl like ATL. Remember when there was talk about Cowher maybe getting fired after that 6-10 year in the early 00's? That is where the Steelers are now. They will reload, take a minute or two and win it all in '16 or '17. Or at least make it there...

supinger
supinger

 @Julie1 For real.  Turner has a ton of carries in the past few years but overall he doesn't have as much wear and tear as most backs his age.

supinger
supinger

 @mwr5053  Absolutely.  They're almost held hostage by him though.  He's the franchise QB who's won two Super Bowls (although I don't credit him for the first one, they won that one in spite of him) it's not like they can cut him or trade him, even if they should.  Fine by me though, I can't stand the Steelers.