On Thursday, the Atlanta Falcons confirmed that they have cut ties with veteran running back Steven Jackson. It was a move that most people expected after Falcon’s GM Thomas Dimitroff, and rookie head coach Dan Quinn recently sang the praises of another running back, Devonta Freeman. With the release, the Falcons will save $3.75 million in salary-cap space, although they retain a $1.1 million signing bonus.
Jackson, who turns 32 in July, signed on with the Falcons two seasons ago, but was limited to only 1,250 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns in 27 games. When the Falcons signed him, they were hoping Jackson would replace Michael Turner, who they released after five years with the team. Jackson had a streak of eight straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons that ended after he left the St. Louis Rams and signed the Falcons.
After dropping a touchdown pass in his first game with the Falcons, Jackson was besotted with injuries that made his stay in the Falcon’s organization an unsuccessful one. Jackson is now a free agent and can look for a new team immediately. While Jackson looks to be on his last legs, he refused to call it quits, suggesting on his official website that he still has enough juice left to produce more 1,000-yard seasons and “punish” defenses.
Fantasy Insight: This obviously opens the door for Freeman to take over and be a real factor in fantasy football in 2015. Freeman has some solid versatility and although he’s not the biggest back, his compact build with above average speed and vision have him carrying some solid upside if he nails down the starting gig. Unfortunately, Atlanta is almost sure to add a running back via the draft or free agency. While Freeman might not necessarily end up being the Falcons running back you covet in fantasy drafts come August, we’ll still want to pay close attention to who will ultimately see the majority of the rushing load in ATL.