The Atlanta Falcons made a move on Thursday most people were expecting, as they decided to release running back Steven Jackson. The move clears $3.75 million in cap space.
The Falcons signed Jackson in 2013 after he was able to void his contract with the St. Louis Rams. Unfortunately, Jackson immediately went off the career cliff when he joined the Falcons. He had eight straight 1,000-yard seasons leading up to his departure from St. Louis. In Atlanta, he played in 27 games over two seasons, and rushed for a combined 1,250 yards, averaging 3.6 yards per carry.
My guess is Jackson hangs up his cleats and heads off into the sunset. He turns 32 this offseason, but there does not seem to be nearly enough left in the tank. I bring him up here because when he was in St. Louis, he was always one of my favorite non-49ers. He was not some huge personality, or an otherwise entertaining individual, but as a football player, he was a just an absolute beast on some iffy at best Rams teams. Their best record during his time in St. Louis was 8-8, but he just chugged along and did some great things for them.
If Jackson does indeed retire, he will finish his career with 11,388 rushing yards, good for No. 16 on the NFL's all time leaderboard. Frank Gore is only 315 yards behind him. We don't know where Gore will end up in 2015, but he should be able to climb at least a few spots on the leaderboard. Gore is currently ranked No. 20. 1,000 yards would move him past O.J. Simpson, Corey Dillon, John Riggins, Steven Jackson, and Fred Taylor, and leave him 1 yard shy of Thurman Thomas for No. 14.