The Atlanta Falcons replaced Michael Turner with another proven, productive running back.
Steven Jackson, the top running back in free agency, agreed to a three-year, $12 million deal with the Falcons on Thursday.
Also getting new deals were backup quarterback Matt Cassel in Minnesota, pass rusher Cliff Avril in Seattle and cornerback Keenan Lewis in New Orleans. The New York Giants signed defensive backs Ryan Mundy and Aaron Ross.
And the Houston Texans were rolling out the red carpet to make their pitch to safety Ed Reed.
Day 3 of the NFL’s free agency frenzy was highlighted by the 30-year-old Jackson moving on from St. Louis after his eighth straight 1,000-yard season.
“I think this is a very big signing for us," Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff told The Associated Press. “It continues to bolster our offensive firepower. It gives us not only strength, power in running ability but also the versatility to catch out of the backfield, which is a very important part of this offense."
Jackson, an Oregon State product, would have earned $7 million with the Rams in 2013 before he opted out of his contract to become a free agent. His 10,135 yards rushing for his career are the most of any active player.
Jackson averaged 4.1 yards per carry with the Rams and gives Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan another receiver. Jackson had at least 38 catches in each of his past eight seasons in St. Louis.
— The Associated Press