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NFL Free Agency: Running Back Could Be An Unlikely Upgrade For Rams

The St. Louis Rams' decision to upgrade its backup running backs could pay dividends for their starter, Steven Jackson.

It’s hard to imagine many scenarios in which a team that already starts Steven Jackson signs Cadillac Williams and manages to upgrade at the position, but such is the nature of Jackson’s tenure with the St. Louis Rams: Getting backups for Jackson might be the ultimate coup. After years of apparent hostility toward the idea of competent backups, the x-time Pro Bowler was apparently open enough following the NFL lockout for the Rams to sign Cadillac Williams and Jerious Norwood, the best-pedigreed players behind Jackson since Stephen Davis's ill-advised final season in 2006.

If it means Jackson won’t again threaten to lead the league in attempts the Rams might have a completely different starting running back in 2011--one who, freed up from third-down duties, averages more than four yards per carry. Josh McDaniels’s offense is likely to leave Sam Bradford swinging for the fences relative to Pat Shurmur’s moribund line-of-scrimmage attack; a more dynamic Jackson and a dependably mediocre Williams would provide the perfect counterbalance.

Now all the Rams have to do is convince Jackson to let their new backups have the ball. Ask Kenneth Darby: It’s not an easy thing to do.