As the Cleveland Browns and the rest of the league get down to the mandatory 75 player roster requirement by Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, a few surprise names will come out as being cut. One of those names is rumored to have hit the open market, as it is being reported the Buffalo Bills have parted ways with running back Fred Jackson.
Reported by Vic Carucci on Twitter Monday morning, “The #Bills have released RB Fred Jackson as part of their roster cut to 75, according to #NFL Source.”
— Vic Carucci (@viccarucci) August 31, 2015
This move comes as a major shock at this point of the preseason, especially given the health situation of the running backs in Buffalo. After acquiring LeSean McCoy this offseason—who is currently nursing an injury—it was expected that Jackson would remain his primary backup for the 2015 season.
Undrafted out of Coe College, the 6’1” and 215-pound Jackson is obviously “long in the tooth” according to NFL standards for a running back, as he turned 34-years old in February. However, he has remained very productive despite crossing the 30-year old age line, racking up the most receptions of his career in 2014 with 66.
For his career, Jackson has rushed the ball 1,279 times for 5,646 yards and 30 touchdowns (4.4 yards per carry average), and hauled in 322 receptions for 2,640 yards and seven touchdowns. With numbers like that, one would think—despite his age—that Jackson could have a number of suitors on the open market (Houston comes to mind).
In regard to the Cleveland Browns, running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery has been very vocal about the unit underperforming throughout training camp and the preseason. Second-year backs, Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West, have not yet established themselves as legit No. 1 options heading into the season—so a back like Jackson could be a perfect fit with his ability to not only catch passes out of the backfield, but still be a dependable option to handle a decent workload as well.
With so much attention focused on Ray Rice and the Browns “connection” to him with Montgomery, it is important to point out that Jackson was in Buffalo when Browns head coach Mike Pettine was the defensive coordinator there. So if anyone knows how much is left in Jackson’s tank, it is likely Pettine who had to watch Jackson run against his unit every day in practice.
As of now, there are not any concrete rumors linking Jackson to the Browns. But if the front office and coaching staff is serious about bringing a running back into the mix, Jackson should immediately move to the front of their list.