Let the Steven Jackson trade rumors swirl

The approaching NFL trade deadline naturally revives questions about Steven Jackson's future with the St. Louis Rams.

That was going to be the case, no matter what, when both parties agreed to let Jackson opt out of his contract following the 2012 season.

ESPN's Adam Schefter says the Rams have "fielded trade inquiries" recently. He lists Arizona, Green Bay, Dallas and Pittsburgh as teams with needs at the position.

"Green Bay, in particular, has coveted Jackson in the past," Schefter notes.

I doubt the Rams would trade Jackson to a division rival such as the Cardinals. Arizona has already invested quite a bit in the position. Beanie Wells is scheduled to return from injured reserve Nov. 25. LaRod Stephens-Howling just topped 100 yards rushing at Minnesota.

Jackson would be a natural fit in New England for multiple reasons if he became a free agent after the season.

Predicting trades is more difficult to do.

Any team acquiring Jackson would most likely absorb more than $3 million in remaining salary for the 2012 season. I don't think the Rams would trade Jackson, who has been the heart and conscience of their team, for little in return. He still has value to them.

Further, how many teams would be willing to give the Rams fair value when Jackson has the ability to become a free agent after the season? The acquiring team could rework the contract, but how many teams would commit meaningful resources to a 29-year-old running back?

It just takes one team to make a deal, of course. And that keeps alive the possibilities in our minds.

But until we hear about a specific offer from a specific team, that's all we have: possibilities.