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Steven Jackson trade rumors go nowhere—what's next for the St. Louis Rams?

The St. Louis Rams won't be dealing Steven Jackson in 2012. But what do they do next?

Just as everybody around the St. Louis Rams camp was getting used to the idea of trading Steven Jackson—well, the NFL Trade Deadline passed, and they didn't trade Steven Jackson. So what's next? If you're asking about next on the list of Rams-fan freakout sessions, it's probably Steven Jackson's contract, out of which he and the Rams mutually agreed to cut out the 2013 season shortly before Daryl Richardson began splitting his carries. If you're asking about next on Steven Jackson's list—well, he's splitting carries with Daryl Richardson.

Anything could happen over the next eight games, but his playing time and his newly short-term contract makes a return engagement with the Rams seem nearly as unlikely as it would've been if they'd managed to trade him for a fourth-rounder like rumors had them trying.

And without the Rams—well, life is hard for 29-year-old running backs trying to give their career a second act outside the town that made them famous. Jackson, the Rams' all-time rushing leader, is still a big name at the Edward Jones Dome, and if he stayed in St. Louis he'd remain a big name until the moment they retired No. 39 for all time. Elsewhere—elsewhere he's a veteran running back who will probably disappoint a fanbase that still doesn't understand the diminishing role of individual running backs in today's NFL.

Steven Jackson is more valuable to the Rams than he is to anybody else. Unfortunately, Daryl Richardson's emergence means he'll never be an every-down back again if he stays, so he almost certainly won't.