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.
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.