Thomas Dimitroff often receives praise for the smart work he does on contracts. Steven Jackson's three-year pact certainly qualifies as smart work.
The first year, with the Falcons in a cap crunch, Jackson's cap hit is just $2.916 million. The second and third years, that cap figure rises, but that's not the beautiful part. The beautiful part is that if Jackson falls off a cliff—unlikely and we fervently pray it doesn't happen, but there's always the possibility—there's no guaranteed money involved in the contract in the second and third year. That's fairly remarkable.
That also means the Falcons have the option of cutting S-Jax loose if he doesn't perform. Jackson has really left himself open to a lot of risk here, which is a further indication of how much he cared about playing for Atlanta. If he plays out the life of the contract, he'll make plenty of money, but this is a team-friendly deal. Make no mistake about it.
I sincerely hope that Jackson plays out all three seasons, helps the Falcons win a couple of Super Bowls and rides off into the sunset a richer and happier man. You have to tip your cap to everyone involved in this contract, either way.