With his team headed to the NFC Championship Game, Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones will soon be focusing on his contract situation. Jones, 26, is slated to hit free agency in March and is expected to receive a huge payday.
Previous reports suggested that the Packers might move off Jones and let him depart in free agency. They are not in the greatest of cap situations and have depth at running back.
However, there’s now a more recent note on the Jones contract situation. It’s rather surprising in the grand scheme of things. Green Bay reportedly offered him a massive extension during the regular season, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky:
“The Packers had a deal on the table that would have made Jones among the top five highest-paid backs in the league, but that was in terms of average per year. The big guaranteed money was missing."
That’s the biggest key. Guaranteed money. Jones would have earned at least $12.6 million annually on an extension if the report that Green Bay offered to make him one of the five highest-paid running backs in the league.
The top five highest-paid running backs:
An extension in tune with the five-year, $63 million deal Dalvin Cook signed with the Minnesota Vikings recently would have made the most sense.
With that said, Cook received $31.88 million in total guarantees. According to Demovsky, the Green Bay Packers were not willing to offer that much guaranteed to Jones.
As of right now, Green Bay is an estimated $25.79 million over the cap for the 2021 season. The team will have to cut the beef somewhere in order to even sign its draft picks. That’s where a potential Jones departure in free agency comes into play.
It also must be noted that the Packers selected A.J. Dillon in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. They did not do that simply to sit behind Jones moving forward.
Fellow impending free agent Jamaal Williams also performed well this past regular season for Green Bay. This depth at a lower cost could loom large when it comes to Jones’ situation heading into March.
What we do know is that Jones will have a robust market if the Green Bay Packers let him walk in free agency. The former mid-round pick has recorded a combined 3,017 total yards with 30 touchdowns over the past two seasons. That’s more than impressive.