SATURDAY, 1:59pm: Jackson’s deal does not include a signing bonus or any guaranteed money, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports, and the 12th-year veteran will make just more than $114K for two regular-season games with the Patriots. Additional compensation will come Jackson’s way if he remains on New England’s playoff roster.
Jackson’s contract falls under the Minimum Salary Benefit guidelines, Howe notes, meaning the ex-Ram and Falcon runner will occupy just more than $68K of the Pats’ salary cap.
TUESDAY, 11:48am: The Patriots have made the move official, announcing in a press release that they’ve signed Jackson. To make room on the roster, New England cut defensive tackle Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, less than a week after signing him.
MONDAY, 10:07am: After featuring a three-headed rushing attack on Sunday that included Brandon Bolden, James White, and Joey Iosefa, the Patriots will add a veteran to the mix, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN.com, who reports (via Twitter) that the club will sign free agent running back Steven Jackson.
While Jackson had an excellent run in St. Louis, rushing for more than 1,000 yards in eight straight seasons and earning three Pro Bowl nods, he appeared to have lost a step during his two years with the Falcons. In 27 games with Atlanta, Jackson ran for 1,250 yards on 347 carries, an average of 3.6 yards per attempt. He was cut by the Falcons in February and there had been no reports of him working out for NFL teams since then, until he met with the Patriots last week.
With LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis lost for the year, the Patriots have been playing shorthanded in the backfield — White has played well, but is generally a pass-catching back, leaving Bolden and Iosefa to handle most of the carries. Iosefa hadn’t appeared in an NFL game prior to yesterday’s contest against the Titans, and Bolden is more of a special-teamer than a feature back, so Jackson will add some veteran depth to the roster.
According to Anderson (via Twitter), Jackson will be signing a one-year deal with the Pats, so he’s simply being viewed as a short-term option. The move may not bode well for Montee Ball‘s chances of reaching the active roster in the coming weeks — Ball remains on New England’s practice squad for now.