Cory’s Corner: Packers were smart to pass on Steven Jackson

Remember when Packers fans were demanding that Ted Thompson go out and sign free agent running back Steven Jackson?

Well, that was way back in the spring of 2013.

At the time, it didn’t look like a terrible proposition. Jackson, who was 29 at the time, had just finished getting his eighth straight 1,000-yard season. And the Packers just got done handing it off to Cedric Benson, James Starks, DuJuan Harris and Ryan Grant.

The most embarrassing aspect of the 2012 Packers’ season was that Aaron Rodgers outrushed all four of those guys. And he had 17 less carries than Benson and Starks.

The running game needed a shot in the arm. And after Jackson toiled through seven sub .500 seasons in St. Louis, it made sense to bring him to Green Bay with a chance to contend right away.

However, the move that everyone thought was obvious was never made. And when Thompson passed on bringing Jackson to Green Bay to be paired with a high-octane offense, many started to wonder what exactly his plans were.

Instead of throwing money at worn out tires and decreased explosion, the Packers smartly opted to invest in the future by drafting Eddie Lacy the following month.

And I’d say the Packers came out OK. Jackson has had trouble staying on the field for Atlanta and when he is on the field he doesn’t exactly provide a needed boost. Last year he rushed for over 75 yards just twice and this year he has totaled less than 50 yards in nine games.

Juxtapose that with Lacy, who came to Green Bay as an Alabama wrecking ball. People didn’t know what to expect from him and weren’t sure how well he would pick up blocking assignments and catch passes out of the backfield.

After showing off his power and nifty spin moves he earned the Offensive Rookie of the Year. The moment he accepted that trophy, any lingering dissonance over not getting Jackson immediately dissolved. The amazing thing about Lacy was that he got 20 or more carries 11 times in his freshman season. That’s a huge heap of praise coming from a pass-heavy offense.

Obviously, Lacy has struggled to get back to his 2013 self. But to his credit, he isn’t getting fed the same either. After 12 games last year, Lacy had seven games of 20 carries or more. Compare that to this year’s total of two.

I’m happy to say that I didn’t hop on the Jackson bandwagon. Even if he had brought sustainable production, the price would’ve been too much at a position that is in decline by age 30. The Falcons caved by signing him to a 3-year, $12-million deal.

The Packers knew there were other assets more important and thought they could at least get the same production from a much cheaper rookie as opposed to paying a veteran for his years of service.

It may not change the minds of the zealous anti-Thompson circles, but not signing Jackson paved the way for what you see today. Lacy is one of the reasons that Rodgers thinks that this team may be one of the best he ever plays on.

I highly doubt he would be saying the same thing if Jackson was still on the roster.


Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn


17 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: Packers were smart to pass on Steven Jackson

  1. Ted was wise to buck the pressure to sign Jackson, who had grown long in the tooth and truth be told, wouldn’t have signed with Green Bay anyway. But there is a RB acquisition scenario forgone that would have yielded huge dividends to the Pack that I’ve spent a lot of time imagining what might have been.

    In 2010, when Ted had the chance to go get Marshawn Lynch, he threw in his cards for reasons meaningful to him. We know that Seattle wound up getting him for a 4th in 2011 and a 5th in 2012. What would the Packers have sacrificed had they given up a 3rd or a 4th in 2011 and a 5th in 2012?

    2011, 3rd – Alex Green
    2011, 4th – Davon House
    2012, 5th – Terrell Manning

    Two guys no longer on the team and the other one just a guy. AR came out in support of going after his former Cal Bears teammate, but I often wonder if Ted didn’t hear echos of Favre in his ear about Randy Moss and nixed the idea in part because of AR making known his desire to have the guy in the stable. All humans are susceptible to their own biases and even though Ted has few, the ones he has sometime get in the way.

    Ted does a lot, no most things, right. But in this one his brain-trash about the risk of trades and the value of draft picks got in the way of acquiring a player (4,000 yds., 39 TDs in 3 years) who one could reasonably conclude may have made an outcome-altering contribution to the post-season fate of the Packers in 2011 and beyond.

    1. He also had given up in Buffalo and was a locker room malcontent…which we’re now starting to see surface in Seattle. Who is to say he wouldn’t have come to Green Bay and blown up in the first six months? I was lukewarm on him at the time, and saying he would’ve been an immediate solution to all the Packers problems (last I saw, he’s not recorded many tackles or forced many turnovers in the last 4 years) is revisionist history.

      We need to move on from Marshawn Lynch, Randy Moss and those other coulda-shoulda-woulda draft pick scenarios we keep hearing about.

      1. Just think if it were TT instead of Ron Wolf when Reggie White was available. TT would have told Reggie to go f–k himself. That might have changed a few outcomes in Green Bay…

        1. But TT wasn’t here in 1992. Nor was Reggie White anything close to a risk in your locker room.

          Another thing that wasn’t there in 1992 was cap obligation stretching 7 to 10 years into the future — White was the first major free agent EVER signed in the salary cap era, and teams had $0 in existing cap obligations to manage.

          1992 was a completely different world for NFL GMs. Ted lives in the world we have now. You might want to try living here, too.

        2. Julius Peppers is the answer. When an All Pro DE became available and TT saw a need, he signed Julius. That is working out just fine, and puts your rant in the wastebasket of history,

      2. I’ll go with the with the idea that for the most part, in most situations you’re right, but in the case of Lynch and Ted’s swing and miss, or rather, the failure to even take a cut, it made a MATERIAL difference in the quantity of silverware sitting in the trophy case at 1265 Lombardi.

        The one thing that always confounds me in these ‘defensive rebuttals’ is how they’re predicated upon and lecture about avoiding shoulda/coulda/woulda second-guessing, yet their core thesis is usually founded on some assumption about an imagined deficiency in the subject player, defending the correctness of avoiding him using the exact same speculation.

        1. My perspective is really more along the lines of what Taryn says below, but you make a good point…

      3. Dobber – what you did is introduce a line of argument that was not in fact made by Savage so you could refute it. Savage didn’t write that Lynch would have been the immediate solution to all of GB’s problems. Savage never mentions the defensive side of the ball, so writing about how many tackles or turnovers Lynch has had introduces a new (though valid, IMO) argument. Nor did Savage engage in revisionist history: he did not distort the facts of the historical record. Lynch had 4051 yds (4.5 ave.) with 35 TDs from ’11 thru ’13, or using 2010, ’11 and ’12, 3531 yds, 4.4 yd average, with 29 TDs. Savage merely seems to be SPECULATING that adding a beast like Lynch to the offense might have been enough to offset the defensive woes & earn another Lombardi trophy.

        I do find that the arguments you made were all valid. Lynch was a known headcase. He wanted a lot of money. He seems to be a malcontent. Adding Lynch would not have helped GB’s defensive woes. Lynch might have hated GB, and blown up in 6 months, as you suggested. We will never know, since that is speculation, much like Savage was speculating.

  2. TT definitely made the right call on Jackson. Not much tread left on those tires, however, he will probably have one of his best games Monday night. As far as Lynch, yeah he is a bruiser, but I do believe he is becoming a head case. He is obviously all about the money now. My prediction… he will get one of the biggest contracts in history and then his playing level will decline abruptly. Then he might buy a bunch of pit bulls and smack some girls silly and shoot himself in the leg at some night club. The end.

  3. Most people were wanting Thompsons head with his draft picks this year with the exception of HHCD, but now they are all praising his selections! HHCD,Rodgers,Linsley and Adams are all contributing to the offense this year and we will see how Janis,Abby,Bradford and Robinson work out next year, If at least two of those mentioned in the latter turn out as good as the ones playing this year I would have to say this is the best class TT has ever drafted!!!!

  4. History is great and always a topic for debate…I’m more focused on the now and future.

  5. How do you know Thompson passed on Jackson? Maybe Jackson passed on GB.

    The year Marshawn Lynch was available (2010), there was a lot of bashing going on. GB won the Super Bowl that year without him. Lynch then signed a contract in 2012 that pays him $8 million per year. GB pays Eddie Lacy 10% of that amount ($0.8 million per year). Part of that money was spent to extend the contracts of Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews.

    1. Bingo!!! You are the winner of this Lynch debate!! Nice work!! All you TT haters need to STFU and quit second guessing his greatness!! He’s the best and if you don’t like him you need to join the Jets or Raiders nation. Plenty to second guess and bitch about there. lol

    2. …and the Packers just had Starks go on a significant run during the late season and playoffs…

      …and they had Ryan Grant returning from injury…

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