You can make a reasonable argument that the last decade has seen the NFL slowly transform into a pass-first league where running backs are undervalued. You can make another reasonable argument that the pendulum is slowly but surely swinging back toward those teams that have a power running game, i.e. San Francisco, Seattle, Kansas City and others.
Steven Jackson stands astride two eras. He was the bone-bruising featured back for the St. Louis Rams during their heyday, and he was still there as the idea of a first round feature back began to phase out. If there is a true resurgence in ground games and a newfound appreciation for the value of workhorse backs like Jackson, he'll likely be watching it from his couch.
That's because Jackson's future with the Falcons is cloudy regardless of how he performs in 2014. With a rebuilt right side of the offensive line, it's entirely possible that a healthy Jackson has a 1,000 yard season. Unfortunately for him, the Falcons are almost certain to invest a draft pick in the position, and they'll be able to save $3.75 million in 2015 by cutting ties with a back who will be 32 years old when the season begins. Short of a 2,000 yard season and a game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl, he won't touch that money.
It's another reason to root hard for S-Jax in 2014, because it's a likely farewell tour for one of the better backs of the 2000's. At 32 years old it's not a guarantee he'll find full-time work elsewhere, so let's hope for a blaze of glory for Jackson.
What are your expectations for his 2014 season?