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Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Aaron Jones and the Green Bay Packers have reached an agreement on a four-year, $48 million extension. The deal includes a $13 million signing bonus and prevents the projected top free agent running back from hitting the market. Jones returns to Green Bay with second-year Boston College product AJ Dillon serving as his backup.
Source: The #Packers and RB Aaron Jones have a deal. He gets a 4-year deal worth $48M.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 14, 2021
The Packers drafted Jones with a fifth-round pick in 2017. After two seasons of semi-productive play, Jones took over as the full-time starter in 2019. He dominated immediately, tying Derrick Henry for the league lead with 16 rushing touchdowns. Over the past two seasons, Jones has 2,188 rushing yards, 3,017 yards from scrimmage, and 30 total touchdowns while averaging five yards per carry.
The offensive trio of Davante Adams, Jones, and Aaron Rodgers have led Green Bay to back-to-back NFC Championship losses. Rodgers, who just won his third regular season MVP, expressed frustration early in the offseason. The future Hall of Fame quarterback is 37 years old and knows that his Super Bowl window won’t stay open forever.
“There’s a lot of unknowns going into this offseason now,” Rodgers said after Green Bay’s playoff loss to Tampa Bay. “I am going to have to take some time away for sure and clear my head and just kind of see what’s going on with everything. But it’s pretty tough right now, especially thinking about the guys that may or may not be here next year. There’s always change; that’s the only constant in this business.”
Many analysts thought the Packers would let Jones walk in free agency, especially after the team didn’t franchise tag him. The salary cap plummeted from $198.2 million in 2020 to $182.5 this coming season, putting most competitive teams in a cap crunch. Instead of punting on the offseason and falling back on Rodgers’ talent, Green Bay made Jones the sixth-highest paid running back in terms of annual salary ($12 million).
Jones becomes the seventh running back with a deal worth over ten million per year. Five of the other six signed their extensions last year. While NFL offenses lean heavily on the passing game, the league’s premier running backs continue signing splash deals. Jones’ offensive versatility and efficiency with the football put him among that elite class.
Unfortunately for the Packers, the Jones deal likely makes an extension with All-Pro center Corey Linsley impossible. The pending free agent was a fifth-round pick from 2014 and started 61 of Green Bay’s last 64 games. He turns 30 this coming season. Teams have until noon ET on Monday to re-sign players on expiring contracts.
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