Steven Jackson has finally ended his holdout. The centerpiece of the St. Louis Rams offense is back on the practice field after accruing around $400,000 worth of fines during his hiatus from Rams preseason camp. Yet, $400,000 won’t seem like much to Jackson anymore, since he is now the league’s highest paid running back.
According to ESPN, Jackson signed a two-tiered contract worth $29.3 million with $21 million guaranteed over three years or $49.3 million by way of huge escalators over five years (full details on the contract are not available yet). The contract has been structured as a five year deal, but the Rams have the option to void the last two years of the contract if his performance levels are not what they expect.
It has been reported that Jackson will have to put up similar numbers over the next three years as he did in his last three. From 2005 to 2007, Jackson rushed for 3,576 yards and 26 touchdowns and caught 171 passes for 1,396 yards and 6 touchdowns. Jackson has great abilities and has proven it in the past, yet after missing 4 weeks of camp, Head Coach Scott Linehan said Jackson would not be playing in this weekend’s preseason game because he needs to get his body in football shape. Also, with new offensive coordinator Al Saunders trying to make Jackson the focal point of the offense, Jackson has a lot of catching up to do in the next couple of weeks before the regular season starts.
Jackson’s agent, Eugene Parker, put Jackson in a good position. Jackson got the $20 million in guaranteed money he was looking for, and has the opportunity to nearly double the money he receives if he plays as well as he is capable of. Also, if the Rams decide not to pick up the last two years of his contract, Jackson could end up a free agent on a market with potentially no salary cap. Hopefully for the Rams, Jackson lives up to his contract and they don’t get burned by dishing out top running back money and not getting the production they wanted in return.