The awkward fact about Steven Jackson trade rumors in 2012 is that no team values him so much as the St. Louis Rams. Everything about his contract, his recent opt-out, and his future with the club relative to breakout rookie Daryl Richardson, and all those weird rumors about Jeff Fisher benching him against the Redskins are subsidiary to the simple fact that he's an aging running back who isn't off to a great start and is set to become a free agent.
For the Rams, he's the veteran star of the team, a guy who's on his way to a Hall of Fame career in the proverbial Rams cap and the only offensive difference-maker with a proven track record. For everybody else, he's a veteran who might have one last stretch-run push left in him as a feature back, whereupon they'll discard him to some other team desperate enough to sign a veteran running back in free agency.
So the Rams will have to decide whether the half-season of his illustrious Rams career—a half-season in which he'll be a useful, if expensive, starting running back—is worth less than, I don't know, a fourth-round draft pick if they're lucky. Personally I'm not sure it is, especially if they have any pretensions of trying to reach respectability in 2012; Turf Show Times' Douglas M. makes a similar point in his great article on the subject.