Aaron Jones Re-Signs with Packers: The Green Bay Packers have re-signed RB Aaron Jones to a four-year deal worth $48 million. The new deal includes a $13 million signing bonus.
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Aaron Jones has reached agreement with the Packers on a 4-year deal worth $48 million, including a $13 million signing bonus, @DrewJRosenhaus tells ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2021
Aaron Jones Re-Signs with Packers
Nearly one week removed from the NFL Franchise Tag deadline, Aaron Jones re-signs with the Packers. Many believed that if the Packers really wanted to retain Jones, they would have tagged the star rusher. Once the deadline passed and Jones went untagged, the consensus groupthink felt that not only was Jones poised to hit the open market, but they also believed that 26-year-old back has played his final down for the Packers and would be playing football in a new destination in 2021.
That is not the case.
While Jones would have likely drawn larger offers in free agency — he was the top back available in a weak market for running backs — the carrier’s agent, the esteemed Drew Rosenhaus, told the press that his client “wanted to stay in Green Bay."
Before the deal, the Packers were set to enter free agency with their two top running backs set to hit the open market. Both Jones and Jamaal Williams were impending free agents. However, now that Jones is locked up, Williams is the Green Bay back who is unlikely to return.
If Williams exits the Packers in free agency, which is the expected outcome, 2020 second-round pick A.J. Dillon would open 2021 as the team’s RB2 and change-of-pace back. However, what many do not realize is that Wiliams is an excellent pass-catching back. He also excels in pass-protection. We know what Dillon brings as a big-bodied rusher, but we do not know what he is as a receiver. This could potentially open up additional touches for Jones, one of the best dual-threat backs in the NFL.
In a passing league filled with irresponsible “running backs don’t matter" narratives are thrown around on social media, Jones remaining in Green Bay was the most-logical landing spot for all parties involved. For Jones, he has flourished in the past two seasons playing in HC Matt LaFleur’s offense. Sure, he flashed with Mike McCarthy but has essentially broken out in the new system.
Since 2019, Jones has handled 201+ carries for 1,084+ rushing yards with 9+ rushing touchdowns, adding 63+ targets, 47+ receptions, 355+ yards, and 2+ scores as a receiver. Collectively, Jones totaled 3,017 yards (829 receiving) and 30 touchdowns (5 receiving) on 533 touches (96 receptions) while averaging 5.6 yards per touch in 30 regular-season games since the start of 2019. What’s more, Jones has averaged 5.5 yards per carry in three of his four seasons as a pro with a career-low of 4.6 back in 2019.
Not only is Aaron Jones a premier rusher, but he is a versatile receiver boasting proven chemistry with QB Aaron Rodgers. Like it or not, Jones’ loss would have been catastrophic for Rodgers and the Packers’ offense. Jones lined up in the slot 17 times last season, 12th most amongst running backs, showcasing his aforementioned versatility.
According to Packers’ beat writer and ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Jones “is one of only two players in NFL history to post 3,000-plus yards rushing (3,364) and 35-plus rushing touchdowns (37), with an average of 5-plus yards per carry (5.2) in their first four seasons. Jim Brown is the other."
Packers 2021 NFL Betting Outlook
Packers Super Bowl 56 Winner (+1000)
(Odds courtesy of PointsBet)
We know one thing: The Packers will be hard to beat as they stand.
Aaron Rodgers doesn’t need a lot of help to get the team to the NFC Championship, a game the team has played in and lost in each of the past two seasons. However, I would make the case that if the Packers let Aaron Jones walk in free agency and did not replace him with a player of a similar skill set and ceiling, they would not be back there for a third straight season.
Nothing is a lock, of course, but retaining Jones is a step in the right direction, especially for an organization that historically has not given their Hall of Fame quarterback sufficient help in the pass-catching department. Rodgers had a monster, MVP year in 2020 with Jones, Davante Adams, and a bunch of guys. Sure, NFL savants know who Robert Tonyan, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Allen Lazard are, but they are far from stars in the league. Losing Jones would have taken another trustworthy weapon away from Rodgers, setting the team farther apart from the Buccaneers and other up-and-coming clubs in the NFC.
With free agency and the NFL Draft upon us, the Packers could always take the contrarian approach to how they manage their personnel and go all-in. However, we cant trust that notion. After all, the biggest name GM Brian Gutekunst brought in to help Rodgers in the past two seasons was Devin Funchess, and he opted-out last season.
And let’s not forget their whiff in last year’s draft, trading up to select QB Jordan Love in the first round and RB A.J. Dillon in the second.
Just imagine if the Packers selected a wide receiver in an absolutely loaded 2020 draft class for wideouts. And now, after Rodgers had an MVP year and the Packers have re-signed Jones, Green Bay’s 2020 draft looks, well, just plain irresponsible.
Even if Packers’ front office personnel have another offseason to forget while putting the team farther away from other contenders vying to improve, we know that if they keep their core intact, they will be in the conversation for Super Bowl 56.
Packers NFC North Winner (+480)
(Odds courtesy of PointsBet)
- Packers (-210)
- Vikings (+330)
- Bears (+525)
- Lions (+2700)
Barring a calamitous collapse, the packers are a favorite to win the NFC North for the third consecutive year. Now, if the Bears trade for Russell Wilson or find competency at the quarterback position and stability on offense, perhaps my mind would change. However, as we stand, the Vikings are the biggest threat to the Packers, which is all well and good, but if Minnesota doesn’t find a way to take a step up on defense, I’d call the Packers the sure-fire favorite to emerge in the North.