Patriots Reportedly Ink Veteran RB Jackson To Deal
According to multiple sources, the New England Patriots have reportedly signed veteran running back Steven Jackson to a one-year contract.
After speculation last week that the Pats were interested in the 32-year-old power back, who hasn't played since 2014 with the Atlanta Falcons, New England brought the three-time pro bowler in for a workout.
Apparently, the coaching staff liked what they saw out of the former first round pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2004, and have decided to offer him a chance to get a second playoff opportunity. While the team hasn't officially announced the move, Jackson took to his Twitter account earlier today to post a picture of himself doing a pull up with the caption "I'm back."
The Patriots signed veteran back Montee Ball to the Practice squad last week, then added practice squad back Joey Iosefa to the active roster, prior to their 33-16 win over Tennessee, to replace the injured LeGarrette Blount. Iosefa played well, carrying the ball 14 times for 51 yards on 19 total plays.
While Iosefa produced solid results for his first game, the team did utilize backup running back Brandon Bolden on offense far more than usual, as the core special teamer played 28 offensive snaps. Not only was that total far and away his high for the season, but it also kept him from fulfilling his normal duties on multiple special teams units. While Bolden has stepped in, in a number of instances including yesterday, and played well in the absence of other running backs, the team has often looked elsewhere for full time replacements other than him, because of his importance to multiple special teams units.
Adding Jackson would allow the team to, once again, cut back Bolden's offensive workload and utilize him in the special teams roles that he has come to excel in.
The move to bring in Jackson might also not spell the end for Iosefa either. The team could chose to keep the rookie on the active roster and couple him with Jackson, to not only help the former pro bowler get back in the swing of things but also further limit the need to use Bolden on offense.
Jackson brings a nice resume to New England, having played 11 seasons in the league. With 11,388 career rushing yards and an ability to hold onto the football, the former Ram and Falcon has put together a nice resume. The big back also had a streak of eight consecutive seasons of over 1,000 yards, during his time in St. Louis.
While he is coming off of a few down years in Atlanta, he has been off the whole season and should have fresher legs than most at this point in the year. Look for him to see some action this Sunday against the Jets.
Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick did decline to comment on the potential signing of Jackson, earlier today during his Monday morning conference call.