Zach Klein of WSB-TV in Atlanta reports that the Atlanta Falcons are expected to make multiple cuts tomorrow and that among them will be running back Steven Jackson. The team confirmed Jackson’s release earlier tonight.
Jackson was signed by the Falcons in 2013 with the expectation that he would provide an upgrade to the team’s running game, which ranked 29th in the NFL in 2012. But Jackson missed a large portion of his first season in Atlanta with a hamstring injury and finished the year with 543 rushing yards, the lowest total for a team leader since 1992. The Falcons’ overall rushing game ranked 31st in the NFL that season. Jackson was able to maintain his health in 2014 and once again led the team with 707 yards on the ground, with the unit finally seeing the improvement it sought by finishing 21st in rushing.
Jackson, 31, came to Atlanta after a long, prolific career as a St. Louis Ram. Jackson led the Rams in rushing for eight consecutive seasons and is that franchise’s all-time leader in rushing attempts (2,396), rushing yards (10,138) and is tied with Eric Dickerson for second in rushing touchdowns (56). Jackson earned trips to three Pro Bowls over the course of his Rams career, but was unable to achieve overall team success there. Besides his rookie season in 2004, Jackson had never played on a Rams team that made the playoffs, nor ever played on a team that finished a season above .500. One of his goals in joining the Falcons was to reverse that course of his career, but the Falcons proceeded to struggle to win just 10 games over the two seasons he was in Atlanta.
The Falcons will free up $3.75 million in cap space by releasing Jackson. Other Falcons players that have been rumored to be candidates for release include wide receiver Harry Douglas, offensive tackle Sam Baker, offensive guard Justin Blalock and defensive linemen Jonathan Babineaux, Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai.