Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported that the Falcons have agreed to terms with former St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson, which has been confirmed by the team to be a three-year deal. Jackson becomes the first new player to join the Falcons in the 2013 off-season. He will likely supplant Michael Turner as the Falcons’ new starting running back.
Jackson is coming off his eighth consecutive 1000-yard season, rushing for 1,042 yards and 4 touchdowns last year with the Rams. Jackson is one of eight NFL players to rush for 1000 yards in at least 8 of his first 9 seasons. Five of those players are current Hall of Famers, and two more (not counting Jackson) in Jerome Bettis and LaDainian Tomlinson are likely to get inducted in due time. Jackson has been voted to the Pro Bowl three times in his career, most recently in 2010.
Jackson was the Rams top pick in the 2004 draft out of Oregon State, where he spent a year as the understudy to Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk before taking over duties in his second season. He has missed a total of just 11 games over the subsequent eight seasons, showing good durability for a player at his position. Known for his toughness and strong character, Jackson was looking to join a winning team. The Rams made the playoffs during Jackson’s rookie season, but have failed to finish above .500 in any subsequent year with him as the lead back. Jackson is also a significant factor in the passing game with 407 career receptions and 3324 yards, which leads all active running backs in the NFL.
UPDATE: D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports the deal with Jackson is worth $12 million over three years with $4 million guaranteed.