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The Loe Down on SJ

Jackson

It is now day three of Rams training camp. With the signing of Donnie Avery to a 4 year deal yesterday, all Rams players are in and practicing save one. Unfortunately that one is a key piece of the Rams plans. Running back Steven Jackson’s one of this year’s crop of NFL hold outs. Jackson wants a new extension to supplement the one remaining year of his rookie deal.

Apparently according to numerous media sources the Rams have informed Jackson and his agent Eugene Parker, that they will end talks until 39 reports for camp. This is Parker’s second client to hold out this off-season, with the Bears Devin Hester’s short-lived attempt at hardball yielding a reported 4 year contract extension.

So what is the Rams next move? Apparently there won’t be one until Jackson shows up for work. For once I can understand the player’s desire to get a new contract signed. However, the same reason that SJ wants a new contract, security against injury, is also a reason to be wary of committing to a long-term deal with him.

He has battled through a few injuries over the past few seasons, and the Rams front office are no doubt worried about investing a ton of guaranteed money in a guy who while very productive has some trouble with staying healthy. My thinking is this. It is obvious that Steven Jackson is one of the top tail backs in pro football. So signing him is essential. However, we have also seen a lot of big money deals given to top RB’s in the past few years, only to see them begin to slide after the incentive to throw their bodies around is gone.

I would like to see a four year contract given to Jackson with guarantees in the first two years against injury. Put the money in the first three years of the deal, where it would be anyway if he signed a long-term contract. Then near the end of the agreement we can all sit back and reassess. Now, Jackson and his agent likely would prefer a longer deal that would give him more upfront signing bonus money.

But I would argue that with the salary cap, and market for star players constantly on the rise Jackson could have another opportunity for a big pay day in just 4 seasons. Running backs have a short shelf life in the NFL, so by locking up Jackson for the next 4 seasons, the Rams can try to diminish their exposure. To make it work, they likely will have to guarantee large portions of the salary, and maybe include guaranteed option or roster bonuses in the middle years of the contract. In Reality though, if Jackson were to sign a long-term contract, they couldn’t cut him in the first three years anyway.

So get a deal done Rams, Steven Jackson is one of the keys to your success. And if you do sign him to a longer term contract, don’t be surprised to hear him complaining that the market went up and he should be paid more just a few years from now. Don’t believe me? Just ask the Bears, Eagles, Giants, and any number of other teams who have recently or are still facing the same problem.


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One Response to “The Loe Down on SJ”

  1. Jeff Roman says:

    Needless to say, I HATE the white pants.

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