Green Bay Packers Running Back Aaron Jones

Green Bay Packers: What To Do With Aaron Jones?

  • 2021 nfl free agency
  • Aaron Jones
  • Aaron Rodgers
  • AJ Dillon
  • brian gutekunst
  • Corey Linsley
  • Drew Rosenhaus
  • Franchise Tag
  • Free Agency
  • Green Bay
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Jamaal Williams
  • Miami Dolphins
  • NFC North
  • NFL
  • NFL Free Agents
  • NFL Offseason
  • Packers
  • Richard Sherman
  • Xavier Rhodes
By Jim Bay March 5, 2021 2 Comment
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Green Bay Packers’ running back Aaron Jones could become an unrestricted free agent in less than two weeks. He will not last long on that market, as the Miami Dolphins have already hinted at being interested in Jones. Who wouldn’t be interested in a player that has 2,188 rushing yards over the past two regular seasons, ranking fifth among running backs during that span? You can read more about the evolution of this talented back in a previously published Brawl Network article.

At this point, the Packers have three options before the free-agent deadline hits. Here are these three options in an order that should benefit the Packer organization.

1. Use the franchise tag

According to Over the Cap, the franchise tag cost for running backs with a $180.5 million salary cap this year would be $8.074 million. Much like the Dallas Cowboys did with Dak Prescott, the Packers could use this to buy some time and see if the team and the league could get some financial relief in 2022.

It would be a very cost-effective way to keep a player who has scored 35 total touchdowns in his last 34 games for the team. It would be hard to replace a player who has a 5.01 yards-per-carry average, ranking third at the position over the past two seasons.

The other issue is that if Green Bay uses the franchise tag, he could hold out until he signs a long-term extension or is traded and signs a long-term deal with another team. Remember, his agent is Drew Rosenhaus.

The Packers are not a team that uses the franchise tag frequently. The last time they used it was on nose tackle Ryan Pickett in 2010.

It is at least something that the Packers are considering, as general manager Brian Gutekunst told the media on Tuesday. “We certainly could,” Gutekunst said. “I think it’s something we’re working through. Again, it’s not a philosophical thing to avoid it. I think there are usually better ways to go about it, but certainly, if I think as we get down the road here over the next week or so if that becomes what is in the Packers’ best interest, I think we’ll do that.

The franchise tag would also give them until July 15 for the next option, which would be to sign Jones to an extended deal.

2. The Green Bay Packers would love to sign Aaron Jones to an extended contract

In an ideal world, the Packers could sign Jones to an extended contract without any issues. However, in today’s NFL, the Packers would likely lose Jamaal Williams and/or All-Pro center Corey Linsley. If the Packers signed Jones for four years, it likely would cost between $12 million and $16 million annually. Over the Cap reports that the Packers are approximately $11.5 million over the cap.

The Packers could make cap space for Jones by releasing players and restructuring contracts. But that will still not ensure that the Packers can keep Linsley or Williams. While A.J. Dillion could serve as a reliable backup, Linsley is vital to the team’s offensive line. Opening holes for running back and protecting Aaron Rodgers is still essential for the team’s success.

If Rodgers wants to finish his Green Bay career, he would prefer to keep as many reliable offensive weapons as possible around him. Not only is Jones a capable runner, but he is also an excellent receiver and pass-blocker, making him one of the best all-around backs in the league. This is not someone easy to replace.

3. The Green Bay Packers could let Aaron Jones leave via free agency

Doing so means that the Packers have confidence in Williams and Dillion’s combination as their feature backs. While Williams is also unsigned, he would come at a much cheaper price tag than Jones.

Williams has played his entire four-year career with the Packers. He’s gained 2,946 total yards, including 1,985 rushing yards, and scored 18 total touchdowns. Dillon showed flashes of his potential last season. His best game came in a 124-yard, two-touchdown performance in a 40-14 Packers win over the Titans in Week 16.

By letting Jones go, it would allow them to possibly re-sign Linsley or make a run at a big-name free agent, such as cornerbacks Richard Sherman or Xavier Rhodes.

Decisions like these are why NFL GMs get the big bucks. What do you think the Packers should do?

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Jim Bay is a retired special education teacher who now likes to write about sports when he is not slashing his way around local golf course. He is also part of the ownership group for Authentic, the 2020 Kentucky Derby and Breeder's Cup Classic champion

2 Comments

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Jim Bay

March 7, 2021

Agreed, what they should and what they will do are not always the same in Packer land.

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JO st

March 5, 2021

Jb they have to resign Jones no if‘s and‘s or butts

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