Impact of Aaron Jones contract with the Green Bay Packers ahead of NFL free agency

By Vincent Frank
Jan 16, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) reacts after a first down in the second quarter during the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

We knew that a huge Aaron Jones contract would be in the cards once NFL free agency opened. We just had no idea that the star running back would re-sign with the Green Bay Packers.

With less than 24 hours to go before the start of the free agent tampering period, Jones and the Packers have absolutely shocked the NFL world. He’s going to be playing in Wisconsin for the foreseeable future.

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Green Bay Packers sign Aaron Jones ahead of NFL free agency

Aaron Jones contract, Green Bay Packers
Oct 5, 2020; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) scores and celebrates a touchdown on the first drive against the Atlanta Falcons during their football game Monday, October 5, 2020, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers-USA TODAY NETWORK

Jones pointed to this possibility on social media Sunday afternoon. Immediately after, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Jones had re-signed with the Packers on a four-year, $48 million contract.

To say that this is monumental news would be an understatement. Leading up to the start of the new league year, suggestions were that the two sides remained far apart in extension negotiations.

In fact, a recent report indicated that the latest Aaron Jones contract offer was for $9 million per season. Obviously, things changed behind the scenes between the two.

In announcing the move, Jones’ agent made it clear that his client took less to remain in Green Bay.

“Aaron would have signed for more in free agency but wanted to stay in Green Bay,” Drew Rosenhaus noted.

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Impact of Aaron Jones new contract with the Green Bay Packers

Aaron Jones contract, Green Bay Packers
Jan 16, 2021; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) breaks away for a large gain against Los Angeles Rams strong safety Jordan Fuller (32) and defensive back Darious Williams (31) in the third quarter during their NFL divisional playoff game Saturday, January 16, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers-USA TODAY NETWORK

At $12 million annually, Jones is now the sixth highest-paid running back in the NFL. He matches the $12 million Joe Mixon is earning with the Cincinnati Bengals. As Rosenhaus noted, it seems as if Jones took less to remain with the Packers. He was said to be looking for top-five money.

Given the production we’ve seen from Jones over the past few seasons, other teams would have paid that on the NFL free agent market.

A fifth-round pick out of UTEP back in 2017, Jones has recorded a combined 3,017 total yards and 30 touchdowns at a clip of 5.7 yards per touch over the past two seasons. He’s proven to be a dual-threat back in Green Bay, something that Aaron Rodgers wanted to see continue moving forward.

Interestingly enough, this come less than a calendar year after the Packers shockingly selected fellow running back A.J. Dillon in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. That seemed to be another indication that Jones’ days in Green Bay were numbered. Obviously, this isn’t the case.

It will be interesting to see the breakdown of this Aaron Jones contract moving forward. As Schefter noted, he received a $13 million signing bonus. It’s possible that the four-year deal could merely link Jones to the Packers financially over the next two seasons. Time will tell on that front.

Read More: NFL salary cap tracker: Where each team stands in 2021

Prior to this move, Green Bay found itself a mere $1.06 million under the 2021 NFL salary cap. The team will have to make some moves to get under said cap ahead of the start of the new league year on Wednesday. That will likely include restructuring/extending Aaron Rodgers’ contract.

The decisions by veterans Billy Turner and Preston Smith to restructure their contracts recently also helped Green Bay make this happen. Those two moves saved $6.09 million against the cap.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Packers, check out #GoPackGo rumors, rankings, and news here.