The NFL trading deadline is this Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. EDT and the Dallas Cowboys have been mentioned in possible trade rumors with the St. Louis Rams. The Cowboys were mentioned by ESPN’s Adam Schefter as a possible landing spot for 29 year old running back Steven Jackson. (The NFL moved the trading deadline to Thursday at 4:00 p.m. EDT due to Hurricane Sandy)
There was no official confirmation about the inquiry from either party, but Dallas certainly has a need at the position. On Sunday, Dallas rushed for 19 yards total in a loss to the New York Giants. Starting running back DeMarco Murray has been sidelined with a foot injury. His replacement, veteran Felix Jones, underwhelmed in his performance and is in the final year of his contract. Behind Jones and Murray are inexperienced second year back Phillip Tanner and rookie Lance Dunbar.
With Jones on his way out of Dallas and Murray’s injury history, a stable force at running back could be just what Dallas needs right now. The biggest question is at what price? Dallas has Jones and disgruntled cornerback Mike Jenkins as possible trade bait. Also to be considered could be wide receiver Dez Bryant. But if a deal was done between Dallas and St. Louis, I would suspect it would only involve draft picks. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King is reporting the Rams will take nothing less than a 3rd rounder for the 9th year veteran out of Oregon State.
The biggest obstacle in this possible trade would involve the salary cap. Dallas is cap stricken as it is and Jackson is in the final year of a recently amended contract. He was signed by the Rams through 2013, but had the final year voided earlier this month to become a free agent at season’s end. Jackson was scheduled to make $7 million next year in base salary, which is the same amount he’s making this season. Pro Talk Football reports the Cowboys’ salary cap to be $5.7 million as of September 2012.
Many Dallas fans will remember Jackson as “the back who got away“. In the 2004 NFL Draft, the Cowboys opted to trade their first round pick (22nd overall) to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for their second round pick (43rd overall), fifth round pick (144th overall), and first round pick in 2005. Jackson was selected by the Rams just two picks later. Dallas used their new picks to acquire running back Julius Jones from Notre Dame, tight end Sean Ryan from Boston College and defensive end Marcus Spears from LSU respectively.
Jackson is in the midst of a rather dismal season in St. Louis. So far this year, he has recorded 403 rushing yards and one touchdown. Jackson is averaging 3.7 yards a carry, the lowest in his career. As the Ram’s lone bright spot for much of his nine seasons, one might wonder just how much tread is left on the veteran’s tires? Especially considering the workhorse manner in which the Rams have used him for so many years.