A few weeks ago, we learned that the Rams and Steven Jackson had made a deal that will allow SJax to opt out of his contract and become a FA at the end of the season. After this was revealed, there was a lot of speculation about a possible trade to a contender, though a deal never materialized (and, perhaps, was not even seriously discussed).
Throughout all of this, the general sentiment of Rams' fans was best characterized as a general acceptance of the inevitable. SJax was a nearly 30 year old RB who was trudging through a mediocre season (403 yards, 3.7 ypc in 8 games).
Then... after the bye week, a funny thing happened to our workhorse on the way to the glue factory.
In the last three weeks, Steven Jackson has come alive. In three games, he has 66 carries for 321 yards (4.9 ypc). He'd likely have significantly more yards if the Rams had not inexplicably handed him the ball only 13 times against the Jets. He also has scored a TD (only his second of the season) and caught 4 passes for 31 yards over this three game stretch.
So what does this mean?
Is this merely SJax going out in a blaze of glory before moving on to a new city in 2013?
Or, perhaps, could the news of SJax's demise in St. Louis be greatly exaggerated?
There is certainly a scenario in which bringing back SJax in 2013 makes a lot of sense. If he is willing to sign a deal that (1) lowers his cap number to around $4M, and (2) does not lock him or the Rams in for an extended period (perhaps a 1 year contract with options for additional years), I'd say its time for Rams' fans to chant "ONE MORE YEAR!"
Remember, in addition to being a still productive runner, SJax does not fumble, is a good receiver, and is above average in picking up the blitz. Even if the Rams move towards more of a "RB by committee" approach, he would have great value as part of the platoon.
So, perhaps, its not time to box up those #39 jerseys.
Perhaps, SJax will be around long enough to help the Rams take the next step towards being a contender.
As Rams fans, we should hope that is how his final chapter is written.