Aaron (No, Not That One) is Staying in Green Bay
The Green Bay Packers saga continues.
While one Aaron (Rodgers) prepares for a trip to a dark, quiet place, another Aaron (Jones) is signing on for another year with the Packers.
Let’s let Jones do the honors:
Jones, 28, has been one of the Packers’ most productive offensive players in recent years. The UTEP product is coming off his third 1,000-yard rushing season in four years. The 2022 campaign also marked his second time reaching at least 1,100 rushing yards in the last three years. Jones hasn’t reached the scoring highs he did in 2019 when his 16 rushing tuddys led the NFL. But he has been a steady, reliable back for the Packers. And after re-working his contract, Jones remains in Green Bay’s backfield.
News of Jones’ return sparked a few thoughts. Firstly, Jones being back with the Pack in 2023 isn’t an inconsequential move. Not just because Green Bay is keeping its lead rusher in an offseason where cap management is crucial. Although, I’ll admit Jones agreeing to trim his total salary from $16 million to $11 million by creating an $8.5 million signing bonus is a clever bit of bookkeeping. But also because retaining Jones might be seen as a move that keeps the other Aaron (Rodgers) interested in staying with the Packers. It can’t hurt to keep a trusted sidekick around for another year.
And then there is the impact on the running back market. The offseason ahead looks to be one full of intriguing ball carriers — both in free agency *AND* the upcoming NFL Draft. James making concessions and altering his deal is something these free agent backs (and the teams coveting them) should keep in mind. Moreover, I wonder if it’ll help put into perspective what running backs could get this offseason. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think Jones’ return to Green Bay significantly alters the running back market. But there will be a ripple effect. And how it impacts teams like the Bears (who have their own back who is a free-agent-to-be) remains to be seen. Stay tuned.