- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
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The big question at this point is whether or not any other team will make him its featured back.
Jackson, 29, has topped 1,000 yards rushing for eight consecutive seasons. I think he could continue to produce at that level for another season, most likely. But the Rams are heading in another direction with younger players. They would presumably like a more explosive runner. They drafted two backs last year.
Jackson, speaking Thursday with Sirius NFL Radio, had this to say about his decision to test free agency:
"It wasn’t about money at this point. I've been able to have a successful career, especially dealing with some hard times as an individual. But it’s more at this point of my career [I] want to be a part of something, chasing a Lombardi Trophy. I want to be a part of something special. And at this point where I’m at, and where the Rams are right now, we had a very open discussion, very heart-to-heart, about what my role would be going forward from now. And that’s where the disagreement comes in. It wasn’t about salary. ...
"It would be more of a running back by committee kind of agreement [with the Rams] going forward. I embrace the fact that I took in Daryl [Richardson] and Isaiah Pead and taught them a lot and hopefully they’ll go on to not only excel, but be very good athletes and good professionals in this league. But for where I’m at going into Year 10, I’m not ready to step back and just become a primary backup or reduced-role guy, to be a part of a running back by committee.
"I still have a lot left in my tank. I still have a lot to offer a team. We're not talking about someone that is in year 12 or 13. But I understand. I understand the business side of it. I still have a great relationship with the organization and one day I’ll be going back there."
Sounds like Jackson has moved on emotionally from the Rams. He's looking to contend for a championship this season. Perhaps a team like Atlanta or Denver will give him that opportunity. I tend to think he's going to take a reduced role either way. But if he wins a championship in the process, good for him.