According to a report from Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, star running back Steven Jackson will quit the St. Louis Rams. Jackson intends to test the 2013 NFL free-agency market.
Despite coming off a relatively down year and aged 29, Jackson should have no shortage of suitors. On his day, the nine-year pro is arguably the most complete running back in the league.
A natural bruiser between the tackles, Jackson runs with awesome power. He also possesses elite quickness, footwork and agility. Jackson remains an above-average receiver and has an excellent understanding of schemes.
Here are three teams who should seriously consider making Jackson an offer:
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers still need a quality runner to complement quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Cedric Benson experiment failed in 2012. Youngsters Alex Green and DuJuan Harris filled in reasonably, but neither appears to be a long-term solution.
Jackson is a more varied and intelligent runner than Benson. He also boasts greater versatility as a receiver, something that should appeal to the Packers and their West Coast-style schemes.
Adding Jackson alongside Rodgers would create a nightmare for opposing defenses. The Packers have been undone in the playoffs the last two years because they were too one-dimensional.
Acquiring Jackson would solve that issue. He would likely relish playing for a true contender and seizing the opportunity to end his stellar career with a championship.
New York Jets
The New York Jets have cap issues, but they are not as pressing as their gaping hole at running back. They can boost their ground game by signing Jackson and waving goodbye to the underwhelming Shonn Greene.
The Jets have already begun the process of trimming their cap restraints by releasing a batch of veteran defenders. It is also thought that Greene will be allowed to test the market, where he is already drawing interest.
Signing Jackson would give the Jets an upgrade at the position. It would ensure head coach Rex Ryan has the kind of power running game in place to complement his swarming defense.
Adding a dynamic skill position weapon like Jackson would also help struggling passer Mark Sanchez. Gang Green aren't that far removed from being a contender. Jackson could be the key to getting the Jets back to the playoffs.
Few teams in football have a greater need at the running back position than the Arizona Cardinals. Keeping a credible tailback healthy has been the Cardinals biggest issue.
Jackson has only missed two starts in the last four seasons. He would be a more reliable option than the talented, yet brittle, Beanie Wells. New Arizona head coach Bruce Arians would also be able to make plenty of use of Jackson's skills.
Arians knows the value of a power back from his days as offensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He isn't shy about grinding out yards on the ground and controlling the clock.
Jackson would also give Arians another elite weapon, alongside standout wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. With Jackson always a threat on the ground, the Cardinals could face some eight-man defensive fronts. That might mean reduced coverage for Fitzgerald.
There's also the fact that the NFC West has become a division where a power running game is needed. Big defensive fronts like those of the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers challenge teams to show true balance with a credible ground game.
From his days with Rams, Jackson has plenty of experience going against these defenses. Having Jackson and Fitzgerald on the same offense will make the job easier for whomever the Cardinals choose at quarterback.
Whichever team adds Jackson in free agency will be getting a star featured back. The three teams on this list have arguably the greatest need for Jackson's skills and production.877594