Poll: Should the Rams trade Steven Jackson? - KMOV.com

Poll: Should the Rams trade Steven Jackson?

KMOV.com’s Michael Bittner and Brendan Marks debate whether it would be beneficial for the Rams to trade Steven Jackson. 

Why the Rams should trade Steven Jackson

By Michael Bittner

If the Rams want to kick their little rebuilding project into high gear, there’s really only one move to make: trade their superstar. 

Running back Steven Jackson is having an excellent season and has been a good soldier for the Rams, giving his all every Sunday even though he plays for the worst team in the NFL. Despite missing last Sunday’s game, Jackson is still second in the league with 1,353 rushing yards.
The Rams need to shut Jackson down for the rest of this season so he will be ready to play next season – for a new team. 
Even though they will likely have the top pick in the 2010 Draft, next season will be another dreadful year for the team. They won’t have a franchise quarterback – because there isn’t one worth drafting - and will still be a few playmakers short on offense. 
Jackson, on the other hand, will be terrific. It is pointless to have him waste away on a team that will win only 3 of 4 games tops. 
The opportunity for the Rams to sell high has arrived. 
It has been well documented that most running backs’ productivity slows down in a big way after age 30. For example, former Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander was the NFL MVP in 2005, at age 28, after gaining 1,880 yards on the ground and averaging 5.1 yards per carry. In 2007, at age 30, Alexander rushed for 716 yards and averaged just 3.5 yards per carry.
Alexander was then released and hopped on with the Redskins for 2008 but averaged only 2.2 yards per carry in 4 games before he was released again.
The story is the same for former superstars like Edgerrin James and LaDainian Tomlinson. 
Jackson will be 27 before the start of the 2010 season, meaning his prime should continue for the next three years. Will the Rams be a contender in the next three years? Likely not.
With the high probability of the league not having a salary cap next year because of collective bargaining agreement issues, a big market team (wow, the NFL is turning into baseball) would be able to trade for Jackson and pay his contract. 
Take the Patriots for example. Forbes magazine recently rated them as the third-most valuable franchise in the NFL – and they don’t have a running back they can trust.  Laurence Maroney has his moments, but lately he has had trouble holding onto the ball in the red zone and has rushed for just 757 yards this season. New England’s other running back, former Jaguar Fred Taylor, is 33 and has played in only 5 games this season. 
The Patriots could trade the Rams their first, third and fifth-round draft picks in the 2010 draft, as well as the first-round pick in 2011 they acquired from the Raiders in exchange for defensive lineman Richard Seymour. With the Raiders being, well, the Raiders, that pick should be in the top 10. 
Two first-round picks, a third and fifth seems like a fair trade for a dominant running back with three years in his prime. After mixing Jackson with QB Tom Brady and WR’s Randy Moss and Wes Welker, this trade would make the Patriots the best team in the AFC. 
Look at the Giants, the fourth most valuable franchise in the league, according to Forbes. After a disappointing season, they will look to make noise in 2010 as they open a new stadium. Jackson would make their offense much better, as they don’t have a top 15 running back. Other big market teams like the Jets and Bears could use Jackson as well. 
Trading Jackson away in his prime is also the humane thing to do. While he is paid quite handsomely, he surely would be grateful to spend the most productive years of his athletic life on a winning team. 

The Rams are at least two years away from competing in the NFC West. They desperately need to draft a franchise quarterback next year, and also can’t pass up Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh with the first pick in the 2010 draft. Trading Jackson is the best way to build for the future.

Why the Rams should not trade Steven Jackson

By Brendan Marks

The notion that the St. Louis Rams trading all-everything running back Steven Jackson will make them a better team is not only unfathomable to me, but just plain wrong.

In my opinion, Jackson is among the best running backs in the NFL (along with Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson), and considering what he's done in 2009 while the Rams have jumped between three QB's, could be argued as the best. On the season, Jackson has rushed for 1353 yards, second in the NFL only to the aforementioned Johnson. Simply put, you don't trade a player in his prime, especially when he's one of the best players in the game.

When it comes to value in trades, one must look at both the long-term and short-term impacts the transaction would have on the team. Sure you could trade away Jackson for some good value, maybe even get a first rounder for him. But since when has having a first round pick been a sure thing? In fact, looking at the Rams first round picks from the last seven years, Jackson is the only one who has panned out. Since Jackson was drafted in 2004 the Rams' first round picks are Alex Barron, Tye Hill, Adam Carriker, Chris Long, and Jason Smith. Barron is a head case, Hill was traded to Atlanta, Carriker has all but lived the definition of a bust, Long has underwhelmed, and Smith has yet to truly show why he was drafted number two overall. My point is, draft picks are never going to be proven commodities, but number 39 is about as proven a commodity as there is in the league.

When asked last week about the prospects of trading Jackson, Rams General Manager Billy Devaney didn’t hesitate. "It's something that's never even crossed my mind," Devaney said. "It's something that I couldn't imagine. We're trying to bring good players into the building. Why would we want (to trade) our best guy, one of the best players in the NFL regardless of position?"

That’s a good question, and something anyone should ask when talking about trading away talent. The Rams need to bring in more Steven Jacksons, not get rid of them. The Rams do have some important decisions to make this off-season, but one the front office doesn’t have to make is what to do at running back. The team needs to concentrate on all the other deficiencies they have and not create another one.

Rams fans have been a bit spoiled with talented running backs this decade (with Marshall Faulk before Jackson), but most teams would do anything to get their hands on a player like Jackson. Just ask the Seattle Seahawks, who haven’t been to the playoffs since the decline of Shaun Alexander.

You can’t overlook Jackson’s leadership ability either. When he was getting beat up week after week this season, Jackson easily could have voiced his displeasure with the play of the team. But he never opened his mouth, staying positive as the losses piled up. Even when back spasms kept the 235 lb. running back from practicing, he was always out there on game day. Jackson is the type of leader that gets respect from the way he plays, and doesn’t throw anybody under the bus. Now that’s a guy you can build a team around.
Lastly, anyone who makes the Pro Bowl on this year's version of the St. Louis Rams deserves a medal, much less deserves a spot on the 2010 roster.

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