Steven Jackson

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/29/15

Today’s minor NFL signings, cuts, and other moves:

  • The Patriots announced that they have released running back Joey Iosefa. Iosefa lasted only two weeks on the club’s active roster. He saw 14 carries against the Titans in Week 15 and ran for only 51 yards. His spot has ostensibly been usurped by the recently-added Steven Jackson.
  • The Giants announced that they have placed 2014 fifth-rounder Devon Kennard on injured reserve. Kennard, who also missed four games last season, has 58 tackles to his credit for Big Blue.
  • The Steelers placed fullback Roosevelt Nix on injured reserve, as Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets. The Steelers also announced that they have promoted linebacker L.J. Fort to the active roster.
  • The Bills placed Marcus Easley on IR, as Wilson tweets. Back in March of 2015, the special teamer inked a four-year pact worth $7MM with the Bills. A sizable chunk of that money – $2.2MM – was guaranteed.
  • Texans cornerback Charles James will be placed on injured reserve after suffering a season-ending foot injury, Wilson tweets.
  • The Chargers announced that they have claimed tight end Asante Cleveland off waivers from the Patriots.

Patriots Sign Steven Jackson

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, 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.

Patriots Meeting With Steven Jackson

7:05pm: There’s nothing imminent between the two sides, reports Rapoport (via Twitter), who notes that the Patriots appear to be “set for the time being.”

9:00am: Jackson will work out for the Patriots when he visits the team today, tweets Ian Rapoport of Rapoport also notes that Jackson wants to play for a contender, as the veteran free agent said back in May.

8:54am: With LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis both out for the rest of the season, the Patriots figure to rely more heavily on Brandon Bolden and James White going forward. However, the team signed Montee Ball to its practice squad on Tuesday, and now seems to be considering at least one more veteran free agent.

According to Ed Werder of (via Twitter), the Patriots are meeting with former Rams and Falcons running back Steven Jackson today, based on mutual interest between the two sides. Between his time as Denver’s head coach and his return to New England, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels served as the Rams’ offensive coordinator for a season in 2011, so he has some history with 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 team in February and there have been no reports of him working out for NFL teams since then.

Still, if the Patriots think Jackson has stayed in game shape during his absence from the NFL – he hasn’t played a game in nearly a full year – then perhaps the team will take a flier on him down the stretch. For now, we’ll have to wait to see how today’s meeting goes.

Cowboys Notes: S. Jackson, Tryouts, Dez

Notable free agent running backs like Ray Rice and Chris Johnson have been linked to the Cowboys in recent weeks, but it appears those rumors are coming from the players’ side rather than from the team, as executive VP Stephen Jones said yesterday that the club has no plans to add a veteran back.

That didn’t stop another veteran free agent, Steven Jackson, from publicly lobbying the team for an opportunity though. As Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk details, Jackson made use of Photoshop and Twitter in trying to get the Cowboys’ attention.

It’s no surprise that Dallas looks like a desirable destination for free agent running backs, considering the team has one of the league’s best offensive lines and no clear-cut candidate to carry the workload now that DeMarco Murray is an Eagle. But for now at least, it appears the Cowboys want to get a good look at the backs on their roster in training camp before they make any changes at the position.

Here’s more out of Dallas:

  • With Keith Rivers having retired and Rolando McClain not available for the start of the season, the Cowboys are perusing the free agent market for linebackers. According to Todd Archer of (via Twitter), the club is bringing in Keith Smith, Lawrence Wilson, and Ashlee Palmer for workouts. Tight end Gator Hoskins is also auditioning for Dallas, notes Archer.
  • Dez Bryant‘s new $70MM contract isn’t going to change the way he plays, as Archer writes in a piece for “It’s no pressure. That deal don’t make me,” Bryant said. “I play this game because I love this game. I don’t give a damn about none of that. It’s not going to change the way I play. It’s not going to change the way I act.”
  • Over two weeks ago, we heard that Greg Hardy would make a decision “any time now” on whether or not to take the NFL to court over his suspension. Based on how quiet it’s been on the Hardy front, it seems increasingly likely that the defensive end will simply accept his four-game ban, and Cowboys radio analyst Babe Laufenberg thinks the team would be in favor of that decision (link via Dallas Morning News).

Steven Jackson Hopes To Join Contender

Veteran running back Steven Jackson has seen his numbers decline over the last several seasons, but he still hopes for the opportunity to continue his NFL career. And, as he tells Nick Wagoner of, Jackson would prefer to join a contending team if possible.

“I don’t want to go to a team that is rebuilding and needs me to come on and teach guys how to be professional,” Jackson said. “I’ve done that. I’ve been more than vocal about wanting to help young guys, but at some point I have to be a little selfish. I want to be part of a winning team because when I do hang up my cleats, I can see a lot of people holding that over my head when a lot of it was out of my control.”

Jackson, who turns 32 in July, earned three Pro Bowl nods during his nine years with the Rams, and for his NFL career, he has racked up 11,388 rushing yards, plus another 3,663 through the air. However, as he alludes to in his conversation with Wagoner, the former first-round pick hasn’t made the postseason since his rookie year in St. Louis, on a Rams team that finished with a .500 record.

“I have all the things I’ve accomplished personally, but I’ve still never been on a team that won more than eight games,” Jackson said. “That would be definitely one of the things that I’m looking for is that opportunity in my next chapter.”

Released by the Falcons in February, Jackson had the opportunity to hit the free agent market early, before a number of other running backs became available. However, that didn’t result in a deal, and there haven’t been any reports suggesting the longtime Ram has even paid a visit to any teams over the last two and a half months. Given his declining production, Jackson wouldn’t necessarily be an upgrade for a contender in need of a running back – such as the Cowboys – so he may have to wait until a team gets hit with an injury or two before he finds an opportunity.

Wherever he ends up this year – whether that’s with a new team or at home – Jackson wants to return to St. Louis at some point to officially end his career as a member of the franchise where he spent the majority of his NFL years.

“I definitely want to retire as a Ram,” Jackson told Wagoner. “It’s definitely something I want and that would be to go back. … I’ll never forget standing in that meeting room and watching Isaac Bruce retire. When I saw that up close and personal, I said I want that for myself whenever I retire.”

Falcons Release Steven Jackson

6:37pm: The Falcons confirmed the news via press release.

6:29pm: The Falcons have released running back Steven Jackson, a source tells Adam Schefter of (via Twitter). Zach Klein of ABC 2 (via Twitter) first reported that Jackson would be one of the players let go on Friday.

Jackson, 32 in July, appeared in 15 games for the Falcons last season, running for 707 yards off of 190 carries with 6 TDs. In two seasons with the Falcons, Jackson rushed for 1,250 yards on 347 carries with 12 touchdowns. He also added 53 catches for 339 yards and one receiving touchdown.Steven Jackson (vertical)

S-Jax first joined the Falcons as a free agent in March of 2013 after spending his entire career with the Rams up until that point. At the peak of his career, Jackson was regarded as one of the best running backs in the NFL and had three Pro Bowl selections to his credit. In his breakthrough season in 2006, Jackson ran for 1,528 yards off of 346 carries, good for 4.4 yards per attempt. In 2009, Jackson would approach those numbers with 1,416 yards off of 324 carries. Jackson left St. Louis as a 1,000+ yard rusher but he was not able to match that kind of production over the last two seasons in Atlanta.

Cutting Jackson will save Atlanta ~$3.75MM against the cap, though they’ll be left with $1.66MM in dead money. Jackson joins a list of notable veteran tailbacks who have been released this offseason as Reggie Bush, DeAngelo Williams, Chris Johnson, and Peyton Hillis are also seeking employment.

The release of Jackson could put the Falcons into the market for a running back in free agency or the draft, or they might simply opt to promote from within and give more touches to the likes of Devonta Freeman.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Benson, S-Jax, Falcons

A court in San Antonio ruled yesterday that Saints owner Tom Benson needs help in managing his assets in Texas, as Katherine Sayre of The Times-Picayune writes. Meanwhile, Benson’s daughter Renee is seeking to overthrow Tom as trustee in the Texas trust, arguing he has mismanaged assets and is in declining health.

Benson, who owns the NBA’s Pelicans in addition to the Saints, suffered another loss in court today, when a New Orleans judge ruled that the 87-year-old must undergo evaluations by three different doctors to determine whether he remains competent to control his NFL and NBA franchises. As Andy Grimm of the Times-Picayune details, one doctor will be appointed by Benson, one by his daughter Renee, and the third will be named by those first two physicians.

Here’s more on the Benson story, along with a couple other notes out of the NFC South:

  • Saints owner Tom Benson issued a statement regarding his current situation and it sounds like he has no intention of backing down. “I have instructed my attorneys to spare no effort in defending my rights and the decisions I have made. The decisions I have made are well within my rights to make at any point in my life, and rest assured that I am making sound decisions. I need not look any further than to read the allegations made against me in these multiple lawsuits to rest easy that I have made the correct decisions,” Benson said in the statement (via Saints VP of communications Greg Bensel on Twitter).
  • Vaughn McClure of (on Twitter) doesn’t expect Steven Jackson to be back with the Falcons next season. McClure notes that Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan declined to address Jackson’s future with the team, though that would ultimately be more in the court of head coach Dan Quinn.  Jackson, 32 in July, appeared in 15 games for the Falcons last season, running for 707 yards off of 190 carries with 6 TDs. Cutting Jackson would save Atlanta $3.75MM against the cap.
  • The Falcons officially announced the rest of their coaching staff for the upcoming season. Atlanta hired Keith Carter as assistant offensive line coach, Matt LaFleur as quarterbacks coach, Doug Mallory as defensive assistant/linebackers coach, Marquand Manuel as secondary coach/senior defensive assistant, Mike McDaniel as offensive assistant, Chris Morgan as offensive line coach, Jeff Ulbrich as linebackers coach, and Chad Walker as defensive assistant/defensive backs.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

NFC Notes: Falcons, Bears, Schilling, Riddick

The Falcons’ training-camp position battle at running back will have the attention of ESPN’s Vaughn McClure, who says soon-to-be 31-year-old veteran Steven Jackson probably has one good season left in him, but fourth-rounder Devonta Freeman was drafted with “thoughts of grooming him as the three-down back of the future.” Meanwhile, the battle for the third-down role will be between Antone Smith and Jacquizz Rodgers, whose special-teams impact might be reduced by the presence of Devin Hester.

Here’s a few more NFC Notes for your late-night or early-morning perusal:

    • The Bears want second-year man Marquess Wilson to win the No. 3 receiver job, writes ESPN’s Michael C. Wright: “unless Wilson falters significantly in camp and in the preseason, the job appears to be his to lose.
    • The Bears project to bring back nine of the 10 offensive linemen who finished last season with the team, in addition to free-agent acquisition Brian De La Puente. Consequently, someone like James Brown or Taylor Boggs could be cut in training camp, asserts ESPN’s Michael C. Wright.
    • After Stephen Schilling was let go by the Chargers, the Seahawks were the first team to express interest and offer a contract, writes Bob Condotta in the Seattle Times. Schilling, a Washington state native, jumped on the opportunity, and he thinks he could latch on with the Seahawks because their zone-blocking scheme better suits his skill set.
    • Lions running back Theo Riddick has had a strong offseason, even catching the eye of head coach Jim Caldwell, and the second-year pro out of Notre Dame should benefit from coaching staff and new scheme, says Tim Twentyman on the team website.
    • Giants cornerbacks coach Peter Giunta tells’s Conor Orr he has the deepest position group of his career thanks to “10 quality corners.”

Extra Points: Hatcher, Jackson, Mack

Cowboys free agent defensive tackle Jason Hatcher‘s best-case scenario might be to sign a club-friendly deal with Dallas, writes Bleacher Report’s Dan Pompei. Although Hatcher’s breakout campaign in 2013, which included a career-best 11 sacks, may have been enough to land him a lucrative deal under different circumstances, his age (32) and past performance will likely limit his market. Before 2013, Hatcher’s career high was 4.5 sacks, and Pompei believes it will be difficult for Hatcher to match or surpass last season’s success.

Some other notes from around the league:

  • Pompei notes that Steven Jackson is likely to remain with the Falcons. Jackson has struggled with injuries throughout his career, but Atlanta officials thought Jackson ran well when healthy and that his lackluster season was influenced by poor blocking from his linemen.
  • Pompei also thinks it is highly unlikely that Browns free agent center Alex Mack will get the franchise tag because it would cost the Browns around $11MM. The tag for offensive linemen as a whole is driven by the salaries of offensive tackles, which explains why it would be so expensive to tag Mack despite the fact that no center made more than $5.5MM last year. Pompei believes Mack will become the highest-paid center in the game, but he does not give an opinion as to who he thinks may land him.
  • In a pre-Super Bowl Twitter mailbag, Tony Grossi of tweets that it is unlikely the Browns will retain Mack, and he reaffirms his belief that Cleveland will use the franchise tag on safety T.J. Ward. Grossi said Ward himself expects the tag.