Veteran athletes get to a certain point when having options becomes the top priority. Choosing where to play the next season, being able to freely negotiate salary or even deciding when to hang it up are crucial to how a player’s career eventually comes to an end.
Jackson is on the downside of a very productive career with the Rams, but still seems to have plenty left in the tank. While it is uncertain how things will turn out now, the running back has a lot to think about in the coming weeks regarding his NFL future.
Though he has hinted at retiring before (via Pro Football Talk), Jackson could also find it appealing to test free agency at such a critical juncture. Or he could even decide to end his career in St. Louis, cementing his legacy as a Ram.
If Jackson chooses to void his current contract (due to make $7 million in 2013) with the Rams, however, there will be plenty of teams interested in his services. The Kansas City Chiefs could be jockeying for position in line.
The Chiefs have always looked for a complementary running back to Jamaal Charles. Since 2009, Kansas City has signed Thomas Jones and Peyton Hillis to free-agent contracts, in addition to using in-house candidates to spell their star back.
With Hillis unsigned, and only Cyrus Gray and Shaun Draughn as experienced carryovers from last season, the Chiefs should be active in finding this year’s version of the thunder to Charles’ lightning. And Jackson certainly fits that mold.
In addition to proving his worth as a runner, Jackson has tallied another 407 catches, 3,324 yards and eight scores—something that would show well in Andy Reid’s version of the West Coast offense in Kansas City.
Though the Chiefs don’t necessarily represent a team on the cusp of winning now—nor is it clear as to what Jackson would command on the open market—kicking the tires here would at least set the table for what Kansas City can expect this offseason in regards to finding a viable option to be Charles’ running mate.
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