NFL rumors: Green Bay Packers offered RB Aaron Jones laughable contract

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

NFL rumors are starting to hit overdrive with free agency set to get going next week. After the Green Bay Packers opted against placing the franchise tag on star running back Aaron Jones, he’s going to be among those bandied about the most.

Previous suggestions were that the Packers and Jones found themselves far apart in extension talks over the past calendar year. We now have some more information on this, and it’s not great.

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Green Bay Packers offered Aaron Jones a mere $9 million per season

NFL rumors: Aaron Jones
Dec 13, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

This information comes to us via NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport and represents a slap in the face to Jones. Given that the NFL franchise tag value for a running back this year is $11.2 million, it’s safe to say that Jones has played his final game as a member of the Packers.

The former fifth-round pick from UTEP is said to be demanding top-five running back money. At the very least, that’s $12.6 million annually — the amount that Dalvin Cook is earning in his new contract with the Minnesota Vikings.

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NFL rumors: Where will Aaron Jones land in free agency?

Overrated NFL free agents, Aaron Jones
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

Jones is going to have himself a strong market. Among those bandied about the most, the Miami Dolphins seem to make the most sense.

There’s said to be mutual interest between the Pro Bowl back and the Dolphins’ brass. Miami currently has $35.59 million to spend under the estimated 2021 NFL salary cap. They are targeting the skill positions big time ahead of the start of free agency.

It also wouldn’t be a massive surprise if the New York Jets ($72.50 million in cap room) get involved. Regardless of New York’s quarterback situation, Aaron Jones would be a perfect fit in new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s system.

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The San Francisco 49ers are among the other teams said to be interested in Jones. However, their cap situation coupled with the performance of cheaper running backs in Kyle Shanahan’s system seems to make that a highly unlikely scenario.

One of the top free agents of this cycle, NFL rumors will continue to be heated when it comes to Jones. After all, the 26-year-old back is coming off a two-year span that has seen him record 3,017 total yards and 30 touchdowns at a clip of 5.7 yards per touch. The Packers’ decision to let him test the free-agent market will add to the intrigue here with the market opening in about a week.

As for Green Bay’s internal options at running back, the team made the surprising decision to select A.J. Dillon in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The Boston College product did very little to prove his worth as a potential three-down back as a rookie. Meanwhile, Jamaal Williams will join Jones on the NFL free agent market.

There’s a decent change Green Bay will either roll with Dillon next season or exhaust even more draft capital should Aaron Jones depart in free agency. Najee Harris (Alabama) and Travis Etienne (Clemson) are seen as the top two running backs in the 2021 NFL Draft.

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