New England announced Tuesday that it signed veteran Steven Jackson. The 32-year-old, who has more than 11,000 career rushing yards and 68 rushing touchdowns, last played for the Falcons back in 2014.
ESPN first reported the development.
In his prime, Jackson was a legitimate dual-threat back and while he likely cannot pick up the Dion Lewis section of the playbook and burn a Nickel linebacker on a wheel route, his versatility should aid a Patriots offense constantly trying to cope with the loss of star power. The Patriots also inked Montee Ball to their practice squad last week, though they ended up promoting fullback Joey Iosefa to the active roster ahead of Sunday's game against the Titans. Iosefa went on to lead the team with 56 yards rushing.
Belichick always favors a back with game-closing power, which is why he phoned Jackson last week to bring him in for a workout. Jackson is still 6-3. He is still incredibly powerful and, after being misused by countless head coaches and coordinators over an 11-year career, he's ready to make a significant contribution to a playoff team. Jackson last made the postseason with the Rams back in 2004, though he was backing up Marshall Faulk.
The narrative on Belichick resurrecting late-career veterans never gets old, and never gets less terrifying to opponents who all had the opportunity to sign Jackson this season and all passed it up. There is a very defined role for Jackson already carved out on the roster, and it will be interesting to see how he looks with significant rest and time to heal.
Jackson was one of the best backs of our time, and the move is reminiscent of the Corey Dillon trade back in 2004, or the Fred Taylor signing in 2009. Will Jackson be next?
He certainly thinks so.