NFL free agents will be able to sign wherever they want two weeks from today. Until then, all we've got is speculation as to where these players will next call home. And we've got some matching speculation from Rams beat writer Jim Thomas and Yahoo! Sports' Jason Cole. Both of them wrote Tuesday that the Atlanta Falcons are one of the most -- if not the most -- likely landing spots for Rams running back Steven Jackson . Thomas reported Monday that Jackson will become a free agent by voiding the final year on his current contract. The Falcons will have an opening for a bulky veteran back as they are expected to cut Michael Turner soon.
Jackson will turn 30 in July had has more than 2,700 touches on his record, so he is not the electrifying player he was back in 2006. But he is better right now than Turner, and he is a much more natural fit for the Falcons' offense. Turner is nothing more than a plodder at this stage (he averaged 3.6 yards per carry in 2012), and he has never caught more than 20 passes in any season. Jackson definitely has more juice left in his legs, and he has averaged 45 receptions per season over his nine years in the league. Jackson would be running behind an improved offensive line compared to those that have been in front of him recently, and his pass-catching skills would continue to be put to good use in Atlanta offense.
The addition of Jackson wouldn't be the best thing for Jacquizz Rodgers in terms of fantasy. Head coach Mike Smith said last week that Rodgers could be a three-down player, but the Falcons have never given him an opportunity to be that man, and they probably never will, which is smart considering Rodgers' size. He would remain a strong complementary runner, best drafted for bench depth.
If Jackson marches to Atlanta, the Rams would be left with Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead as their top two runners. Both are entering their second season, and neither weighs more than 200 pounds, so the Rams would probably be looking for a power-running replacement of their own.
But this is all based upon Monday's educated guesses. Jackson could also be interested in the Steelers or Packers. And I still think Jackson will re-sign with St. Louis, so ....