Rams RB Jackson heads into finale amid questions


Rams RB Jackson heads into finale amid questions

ST. LOUIS (AP) Running back Steven Jackson will have the option to explore free agency after the season, raising the question of whether Sunday's finale at Seattle will be his final game in a St. Louis Rams uniform.

Jackson intimated Thursday that he might retire at the end of this season. Though he laughed as he said it, the 29-year-old running back didn't retreat from the idea when asked how serious he was about the possibility

``If I have to write my story,'' Jackson said Thursday, ``I'd rather go out like Barry Sanders and leaving people to want more than to leave too late.''

So, how many more seasons does that mean are left for Jackson?

``Maybe this last one,'' he said laughing. ``Those hits hurt.''

Jackson negotiated earlier this year for the chance to opt out of his current contract at the end of this season with one year left on the deal. The nine-year veteran has expressed interest in ending his career with the only team he's played for in the NFL, but hasn't publicly committed to returning.

Coach Jeff Fisher said the team wants him back, but if Jackson asks for too many years or too much money he might price himself out of a Rams uniform. The only thing for certain following the season finale at Seattle on Sunday is that the team's active leader in rushing yards has the biggest decision of his career to make. Fisher said the team's made its decision.

``I think everybody in the building would like to have him back,'' Fisher said. ``It's just a matter of us sitting down and working things out.''

Jackson posted in his locker a list of the NFL's top 10 all-time rushing leaders and the three backs with at least 10,000 yards rushing and 5,000 yards receiving. He stands at 10,083 yards and needs 2,196 yards to equal Marshall Faulk, who Jackson replaced with the Rams, to get into the top 10.

Jackson also has 3,279 career receiving yards, though his 31 receptions and 276 yards this year are his lowest for a season not interrupted by a lengthy injury since he had 14 and 189 as a rookie in 2004.

He insists that he has neither thought about his future in terms of whether to return to St. Louis or climbing the all-time charts. He said his only considers this week possibly being his last with the Rams when asked.

``The only emotion I'm thinking about is going undefeated (in divisional play) and secondly my first possible winning season,'' said Jackson, who needs 10 rushing yards for his eighth consecutive 1,000-yard season. ``Those are the only two things I'm thinking about and those are team things, so that's what's most important.''

St. Louis hasn't had a winning season since 2003, the year before Jackson arrived. It has twice finished with 8-8 records, most recently in 2006, before going 15-65 the past five years.

Playing with one of the youngest rosters in the league this season, the Rams are 7-7-1 and 4-0-1 in NFC West play. They also have two first-round draft choices next year, along with several extra picks garnered through trades and there is general optimism at the headquarters for the first time in years.

``I've come to understand in this league that it's truly year to year,'' he said. ``What coach Fisher has brought to this organization, the credibility, that going on in the future I definitely see a very bright future for this organization. Why wouldn't I want to be a part of that?''

How he answers his own question won't come until after Sunday and when, in Jackson's mind, the timing is right during the offseason to consider his future.

``I'll allow myself that time to sit back and reflect and think about things I've accomplished in my career and what I've done this season,'' he said. ``And think about how much longer I want to play this game, as well. There's going to be a small window of opportunity and I want to make sure I take full advantage of it.''

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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details.

Until now.

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022.


Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer).

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million.

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now.

The cap hits on the contract are as follows:

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022.

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five.


Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


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Justin Timberlake shows he has game at Wizards practice court

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Justin Timberlake shows he has game at Wizards practice court

Apparently Justin Timberlake is also good at sports. The pop star showed he has a pretty decent jumpshot while playing on the Wizards' practice court on Sunday ahead of his concert at Capital One Arena.


Timberlake knocked down a halfcourt shot and then two three-pointers in a row. It was all shared on video through his Instagram account and then tweeted by the Wizards.


Wizards owner Ted Leonsis was among the many to attend Timberlake's concert and he put out a series of pictures and videos on social media:


Timberlake is also, of course, an NBA owner himself. He holds a minority stake in the Memphis Grizzlies. No wonder he's good at basketball. He can use their practice court any time he wants.

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