The Falcons have agreed to a free-agent contract with former St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson. The Associated Press reported the terms of the deal to be for three years and $12 million.
''I think this is a very big signing for us,'' Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff told The Associated Press. ''It continues to bolster our offensive firepower. It gives us not only strength, power in running ability but also the versatility to catch out of the backfield, which is a very important part of this offense.''
In separate posts on his Twitter feed, Jackson referred to Dimitroff and Falcons owner Arthur Blank as he thanked the Falcons for the new deal.
''To the AMAZING Atlanta Falcons Owner, GM & Management team, I SINCERELY THANK EACH OF YOU for making this happen. I EAGERLY anticipate 2013!'' Jackson tweeted.
Jackson would have earned $7 million with the Rams in 2013 before he opted out of his contract to become a free agent.
He also tweeted his thanks to the Rams ''for believing in me & allowing me to be an integral part of this team for so many years.''
The Falcons have made re-signing their own players the main focus of offseason personnel moves the past few years, but the team was in need of a starting running back after releasing Michael Turner. One of the NFL’s most physical rushers, the Falcons are counting on the 6-foot-2, 250-pound Jackson providing the same hard-charging style that Turner did the previous five seasons in Atlanta.
Jackson, 29, has rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of the past eight seasons for St. Louis, including 1,042 yards and four touchdowns on the ground last season. Jackson, a 2004 first-round draft pick, is the NFL’s active leader in career rushing yards with 10,135.
The Green Bay Packers also had expressed interest in Jackson.
Jackson now joins a standout offensive cast that includes quarterback Matt Ryan, tight end Tony Gonzalez, and wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones.
The Rams selected two running backs (Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead) in last year’s draft who are expected to compete for the starting spot during training camp.
ESPN first reported the news of Jackson’s signing.