Steven Jackson could walk soon

St. Louis Rams veteran running back Steven Jackson has negotiated an out to his contract after the 2012 season, in lieu of an extension, both his agent and the team confirmed to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Thursday.

Jackson had been under contract through the 2013 season. The deal called for him to make $7 million this season and $7 million next year.

The Post-Dispatch reported that Jackson still will make that much if he decides to stay in St. Louis. But under terms of the new deal, agreed to earlier this year according to the newspaper, the 29-year-old Jackson can leave after this season.

Such a scenario would give both sides a way around a potentially awkward situation.

The Rams wouldn't have to release their career-rushing leader if they decide to move in another direction at the position. The team used a second-round draft pick on Isaiah Pead in April. Another 2012 draft choice, Daryl Richardson, has shown he probably has a future with the team.

In that case, Jackson simply could exercise his option to leave, going out on his terms.

The Rams weren't going to give Jackson a long-term extension at age 29. Jackson, meanwhile, wasn't going to accept one of those looks-good-on-paper deals that wouldn't really give him any greater long-term security.

This new contract gives Jackson additional options. It also shows the team is prepared to move on without him.

Jackson has been hobbled by a groin injury early this season, but was active and played Thursday night against the Arizona Cardinals. He had 76 yards on 18 carries in the Rams' 17-3 win.