Signing free agent running back Steven Jackson may never have been in the cards for the Green Bay Packers.

It certainly wasn't in their budget.

Jackson agreed to terms on a deal with the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday afternoon amid rumors all day Wednesday that he would sign with the Packers. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jackson's deal is for three years, $12 million and includes $4 million guaranteed.

It's not known what the Packers offered or if they even offered anything at all, but if they really wanted Jackson - and maybe more importantly - he wanted them, they would have had to put up more than $4 million a year.

General manager Ted Thompson is notoriously tight with the money he spends in free agency, and it would be fair to assume he didn't want to spend that much on a soon-to-be 30-year-old running back.

It's been known for a while that the Falcons had interest in Jackson, and it only made sense that he had interest in them.

Jackson grew up in Las Vegas, played all of his professional home games indoors and has varied interests that include art, fashion, architecture and film making and there's little question Atlanta would provide more comfort and accessibility to his off-the-field passions than Green Bay.

It's very possible Jackson's representative was using the Packers to help leverage a better deal with the Falcons. But it has been reported that Thompson is fond of Jackson, an eight-time 1,000-yard rusher, and tried to trade for him several years back, so there was interest.