Three Reasons For the Packers To Keep Aaron Jones

The running back is under contract with the Packers through 2024

Last week, my colleague Bruce Irons wrote an article at Cheesehead TV giving three reasons for the Green Bay Packers to cut ties with running back Aaron Jones. And while those are all reasonable considerations, there are also good points to keep Jones in Green Bay for at least one more year (and maybe more than that). So, let's take a look at the positive side of things, with three reasons to keep Aaron Jones as a Packer.

1. Productivity
Aaron Jones is a highly efficient running back. He is the only player in NFL history to reach 40 rushing touchdowns while maintaining more than five yards per carry. Jones had at least 1,000 scrimmage yards in each of the last four seasons, including a career-high 1,121 rushing yards in 2022 — which also shows that, even though he’s 28, Jones hasn’t shown signs of decline. 33 is also an integral part of the passing offense, with at least 350 receiving yards in each season since Matt LaFleur was hired as the head coach in 2019.

Jones' effectiveness down by down is impressive. He had 5.3 yards per carry last season, while AJ Dillon had 4.3 yards per carry under the same circumstances. And it's fair to point out that Jones had five fumbles, three of them lost, but that doesn't tend to be sustainable, considering he had never had more than three in one year before.

2. Contract
Aaron Jones' deal is a fair argument to consider trading him, especially if you don't see the running back position as a valuable one. However, for the 2023 cap, it's possible to keep Jones without many issues. Jones' cap hit this year is projected to be $ 20.02 million. In the case he's traded, the dead money would still be $ 9.58 million. If the Packers want to keep him, it's improbable that they won't restructure the deal. If Green Bay does it and uses void years to spread the cap, they could open $ 11.52 million in cap space this year, leaving the 2023 cap hit at $ 8.5 million. Obviously it would have a significant impact down the road, because his 2024 cap hit would be around $ 27 million, but then the Packers would have more information about the future of the roster and could operate accordingly, trading or extending Jones if wanted or if necessary.

3. Offensive weapon
The Packers have two extremely different paths to consider, one with Aaron Rodgers and another with Jordan Love. Whichever is the case, it would be extremely important to have such a prolific offensive weapon on the roster. If the Packers decide to try one more year with Rodgers, it doesn't make sense to part ways with Jones for an all-in scenario. Jones has good chemistry with Rodgers, and the Packers would need as much offensive firepower as possible to surround their 39-year-old quarterback with talent. If Green Bay wants to get young and move forward with Jordan Love, it would be hard to subtract Jones, especially considering how few top-level weapons this offense has. The Packers front office couldn't have a fair and realistic evaluation of Love if he doesn't have a decent supporting cast to help him.

Considering Aaron Jones' impact, positional value, contract, and productivity, general manager Brian Gutekunst has a difficult decision to make. However, there are several reasons to keep the running back and explore other avenues to manage their complicated cap situation.

Photo: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

-----------------------------

Wendell Ferreira covers the Green Bay Packers for Zone Coverage and Cheesehead TV. He is a Brazilian journalist with over a decade of experience covering the NFL, soccer, NBA, and MMA. Follow him on twitter at @wendellfp  

NFL Categories: 
4 points

Comments (44)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Coldworld's picture

January 24, 2023 at 10:11 am

If we are keeping Rodgers then it makes no sense to let Jones escape as the star performer on O by some way. However, the rehashing of last year is unlikely to lead to a much better outcome. So ultimately, this reason isn’t a great one.

If we go to Love, then we should move on at the likely cost. By the time Love is good, if that happens, Jones will be coming to an end. Cap aside, he’d be a great bridge piece, but we’ve frittered away that luxury.

It’s sad, because if there is one player I want to see as a Packer next year, it’s Jones. Unfortunately, thanks to the cap hole that we have dug and continue to dig, it’s just not a luxury we should afford. If we are to recover, we need to start reducing future dead cap more than having a very good player to take the edge of having a moderate team.

+ REPLY
6 points
8
2
jannes bjornson's picture

January 24, 2023 at 10:18 am

Move Jones for a pick and get a younger and stronger bell cow RB.

+ REPLY
2 points
4
2
canadapacker's picture

January 24, 2023 at 10:38 am

I guess you dont understand Dead Cap - now if you want to be like Atlanta and Chicago and have a few losing years because anybody any good cant be resigned due to Cap. Say so. I have even posted about how much AR will cost us in Dead Cap if he is traded ( he shows as $99 million on Sporttrac right now in 2023) - and nobody has posted the alternatives to that. I believe that now is NOT the time to trade Jones. If Love is going to be the QB - which I hope he needs that dual threat to help him and not a rookie - and the team will not need the Dead Cap that will come with his trade. Finally Love will probably be in sync with Jones having practiced with him - so it is not a luxury - and to repeat guess you dont understand Dead Cap - you try to stay away from spending money on guys who are not playing for you.

+ REPLY
-1 points
2
3
canadapacker's picture

January 24, 2023 at 11:09 am

Just saw this - trading AR will result in dead cap """If Rodgers leaves in 2023 the Packers must recognize $40.3 million of unavoidable dead cap from past monies paid to Rodgers but not yet counted on the team salary cap.""" Already have """Seven voiding contracts will add almost $16.4 million of dead money on the Packers’ salary cap this coming year,""""

NFL Salary cap is expected to be $220 million - Which means 25% of the Cap is tied to players who probably will not be playing for us next year - and it gets much worse if AR stays.

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
jurp's picture

January 24, 2023 at 03:45 pm

And Murphy says "We're not idiots." I don't think "idiot" means what he thinks it means.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Coldworld's picture

January 24, 2023 at 11:12 am

There have been plenty of posts addressing Rodgers contract and dead cap implications. The 99 million is not yet fully incurred . It’s what would be if the team cut him tomorrow and is really a no cut prior to June 2 clause. There are also a number of other wrinkles. There are options that alter how the cap is spread and also increase the overall hit if he stays. He gets more not less expensive in cap terms if he’s rostered next season and in 2024. If he’s traded, those options also impact cap hits for the acquiring team, but it’s generally not prohibitive for them, while placing a ceiling on our dead cap exposure.

Here is a link to a recent article that goes through the permutations—I couldn’t find one of TGRs posts doing the same to link. https://www.profootballnetwork.com/aaron-rodgers-contract-details-salary...

As to my understanding of the dead cap issue. I think you in fact miss the key point, Dead cap is already spent. Yes, it’s bad. But any amount that one can save and redirect is what the focus should be on For example, I believe Lowry counts about 3 million against our cap this year, but that’s not an argument for keeping him since that money can’t be saved and we’d be paying him over and above that.

I think you are conflating the issue that arises when cutting a player accelerates the cap hit meaning it takes more cap from the pot now than it returns.

+ REPLY
2 points
3
1
canadapacker's picture

January 24, 2023 at 02:17 pm

I dont think that I am conflating everything - you should read Zack Kruse's article - that was prepared by a Cap Expert

Evaluating Packers roster entering 2023 offseason

My opinion is that you shouldnt cut a player who is productive and shouldnt trade a player for chump change you is still productive.
Lowry has lost a lot of his utility.
In order to get under the cap Gute did some things - mostly through voided years that we will have to pay for this year and with AR in future years - as Dead Cap . That was a win at all costs scenario. Now we should be in a move on scenario with Love and it will cost us some Dead Cap for the next 2 or 3 years with AR - but we shouldnt get rid of Jones because he can help Love through the transition more than a new draft pick might and who wants to spend draft capital on a running back when we probably have bigger needs elsewhere?

+ REPLY
0 points
2
2
Coldworld's picture

January 24, 2023 at 04:06 pm

I can’t square your circle of logic. So let’s just leave it at that. I was referencing trading Jones: if they cut him it’s because they can’t agree or find other savings that get us under the cap. I think that’s the least likely and desirable outcome, though not completely impossible. You move on from a player when the perceived net benefit outweighs that if retention. That takes into account the cap effect of keeping him and future expectations of play in the context of the team as a whole. I find that to lean towards getting value and cap relief from Jones now if we change QBs

At least you have a fairly clear and comprehensive answer for your question on Rodgers’ cap implications. TGR is preparing one here apparently. He usually goes into great detail and answers questions. I recommend his work,

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
RCPackerFan's picture

January 24, 2023 at 11:47 am

"If we go to Love, then we should move on at the likely cost"

If we move on to Love and getting rid of Jones then why are we keeping anyone? Why aren't we going to just trade away everyone? There would be no point of keeping Jones, Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark, Alexander, etc. They are all costing us $ and like you said by the time Love would be good enough, to compete these guys would not be helping us anymore.

+ REPLY
-3 points
0
3
jurp's picture

January 24, 2023 at 03:49 pm

Well, that would certainly help with our drafting - a couple of years with the number one pick (traded away for multiple first round picks over multiple years) would sure go a long way towards building a championship team - but not with MM and MLF in Green Bay.

Sounds like a plan - tank to win! Got Jacksonville into the playoffs, where they did better than Minnesota. But then, they hired a good coach and staff.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Rak47's picture

January 24, 2023 at 11:25 pm

I read an article recently that detailed Jones as being top 5 all time among all RB's with at least 600 carries in yards per carry as well as several other categories broken down using advanced metrics. The point of the article being that Jones is underappreciated as one of the most electric, talented, and efficient RB's in NFL history. His overall stats being somewhat limited by the Packers using him sparingly.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
stockholder's picture

January 24, 2023 at 10:33 am

Wendall you made a believer out of me.
I was ready to trade him because of the Fumbles.
But I say he'll fix that. Especially with a better OL.
And if Rodgers comes back. And Lazard leaves!
It's just best to re-work the contract.
Most here want a guy traded a year early than Late.
So trade Dillion. The guy has lost his balance.
Either he's drinking, or he's got unsure hands now.
Needless to say a FB will give us the same result.
KUHN! Henderson! Bennett? It's Time for a FB.

+ REPLY
-2 points
2
4
jannes bjornson's picture

January 24, 2023 at 11:36 am

Jones will get a better pick. It's business, not a sentimental journey. They're stuck with the Rodgers' deal. They used him to gain extended Contracts. Happy, happy. The whiff that earns compound interest. Not securing Jonathon Taylor doomed their running game, which is really an afterthought when viewing their O line. Focus on Jones with the predictable wheel routes and watch for the picks or misfires. Key games, key fumbles. No SB 4 U.

+ REPLY
2 points
3
1
stockholder's picture

January 24, 2023 at 03:26 pm

Of Course Jones would get the better pick.
If Lazard won't sign. Gutey should trade him.
(ADAMS. ?). Because Lazard wants to leave.
And thats why you keep Jones.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
jurp's picture

January 24, 2023 at 03:53 pm

Lazard is a free agent, so Gutekunst can't trade him (and no, we won't franchise-tag him) WTF?

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
jurp's picture

January 24, 2023 at 03:51 pm

Got any 1000 Island for that word salad?

Dillon drinking? Unsure hands? Where do you come up with this stuff?

i hope that you can return to your universe soon so that you can see AR win the MVP in this year's Super Bowl.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
T7Steve's picture

January 24, 2023 at 11:17 am

Would love to see him retire a Packer.

We won't get as much for a 28-year-old back as he can give us. Especially since the only ones that will give us any real capitol would be in our division that know him and want to hurt us most.

+ REPLY
-2 points
0
2
Leatherhead's picture

January 24, 2023 at 11:39 am

I've been back and forth on Jones, but as people have shown me the financial nuts and bolts I'm more inclined to keep him. He has a nose for the endzone, IMO, as attested to by his 60 career TDs. If he had 20 TDs over two seasons with us, he'd rank in the all-time Top 70, and depending on how he's playing, you could start talking about HOF credentials.

As an aside, Davante Adams has 87 career TDs. Just about every player who had 100 TDs in their career is either in the HOF, or on his way to it.

2023 is Dillon's contract year, and Jones isn't going to get younger and better, so I think that whether we keep or trade Jones, we should get a horse. Not some UDFA practice squad guy, but a legit workhorse who could carry the team on the ground. That way, if we have to move on from Jones and/or Dillon in 2024, we'll have a guy who's ready to haul the rock.

Am I OK with Dillon/Jones lining up with Love in the backfield? Especially if we strengthen the line.

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
jannes bjornson's picture

January 24, 2023 at 11:46 am

Draft a workhorse RB every year. Keep the room stocked. Taylor should have been in the lineup more often this past season. Coaching.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
Leatherhead's picture

January 24, 2023 at 01:14 pm

You understand that if Taylor was on the field, Jones or Dillon wouldn't be.? Unless you play two backs and take another skill player off the field.

"Hi. I'm the coach. I'm keeping Jones on the bench so that I can get Taylor in the lineup more".

Taylor was a fine #3 back, we've had good health with Jones and Dillon in front of him. We could just stand pat, but I don't think the offense improves if we stand pat.

+ REPLY
-1 points
0
1
jannes bjornson's picture

January 24, 2023 at 02:16 pm

Use all three is the point of the attack. He gained yards every time he touched the ball. When you move the chains, you get more chances to utilize your weapons. The existing offense is predictable on given down and distance. When you cannot get a yard, or inches, you have issues with the running game.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Leatherhead's picture

January 24, 2023 at 06:17 pm

If we're using Taylor, we're not using Jones or Dillon, and we already complain that they don't get enough touches.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
jurp's picture

January 24, 2023 at 03:56 pm

Given our WR situation, playing Taylor in the backfield and Jones split out would've been, oh I don't know, imaginative and a way to help the passing game. Beyond LaFuckup's abilities, I know, but still...

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
RCPackerFan's picture

January 24, 2023 at 11:41 am

Jones is a stud! He is a huge part of our offense. It isn't just about the carries and catches he gets. He draws attention when he goes out wide. When he is used with Dillon. He draws attention from the defense.

In the running game his ability to make the sharp cut and go has been a staple. He can fit through the tiny holes and once he gets past the line, he can make people miss and run through tackles. But the great part about Jones is he isn't just a RB. His abilities as a receiver is what makes him an ultimate weapon!

As good of a player as Jones is on the field, everything we see, hear and read about is Jones is a better person off the field. People like Jones you root for and are proud of when they do great things on the field for the person they are off the field.

There is no logical reason to get rid of Jones!

+ REPLY
3 points
6
3
croatpackfan's picture

January 24, 2023 at 12:51 pm

RCPF, while I agree with the description of Aaron Jones, I have to worn you that there is the one logical reason for trade - SC.

I like Aaron Jones a lot. But as many said, this is the business. In business you can't mix your emotion with your account. That is the path to downfall.

Still we are allowed to wish him the best and cheer for him when he would not be in position to hurt Packers. Like, I'm really glad what Williams achieved with Lions. I also like this guy.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
RCPackerFan's picture

January 24, 2023 at 01:18 pm

What is the reason to trade him?

If you are aiming for a super bowl run you don't trade him, period. If you are in full rebuild mode then you can trade him. That is the only reason why you would trade him as far as I can see.

And if we are in a full rebuild mode then they better trade a bunch of other players as well. They better trade Rodgers, Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark, Jaire Alexander. There is no point of keeping any of those players and they better be getting as many draft picks as possible.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Coldworld's picture

January 24, 2023 at 01:42 pm

Jones is 28. At his position 31 is old. As I look at it, there is a 3 year window I’d look for as a minimum for any player I’d keep at top wages/cap if we transition from Rodgers.

That’s what one hopes, with health, means they may be contributors if Love works out and thus parts of a team that could contend.

3 years is also a period other teams look at when determining trade value. Jones now is likely at his peak trade value. If you are going to sell. Sell high.

Looked at it from the contrary perspective Dillon and Goodson/Taylor is adequate in my eyes even pre draft. It’s a lot cheaper, now and in future, and that saved cap could be a big difference maker elsewhere.

Jaire and Kenny Clark are younger. I’d keep them first, but the reality is, as I said, it’s going to take fiscal pain to get out of this cluster Murphy has shouldered is with. Adding to it is just nuts. Hate it though I do, RB is a position that is one we should be able to restock relatively easily and cheaply and Jones is at his peak saleability.

Had we moved on from Rodgers last year, this probably wouldn’t have been as necessary. Every decision has consequences. Jones being, frankly, a bigger positive impact than Rodgers on our O this year speaks volumes for me. But the lesson isn’t to cling to the palliative but to move on to recovery. In our case that means getting younger and cheaper and additional picks. Those come from players who have value to others.

+ REPLY
4 points
4
0
T7Steve's picture

January 24, 2023 at 02:00 pm

I don't really see someone giving much for a back in a trade when there are probably some good free agent backs out there as there are every year. What did San Fran do to get the McCaffery trade? He's younger and explosive but does have a worse health record.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Coldworld's picture

January 24, 2023 at 02:09 pm

Jones is good enough and still young enough to elevate a good team by adding a dimension. I think you are wrong therefore.

Let me put it this way, if we didn’t value what he brought to us (even behind a line in turmoil) so highly, we wouldn’t want to keep him so badly. Unless we are completely deluded about his abilities, others will appreciate that too. In Jones’ case, his ability to make something from nothing marks him out and gives him real value. That’s why he’s paid as he is.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
T7Steve's picture

January 24, 2023 at 02:40 pm

I think Jones is valuable to the Packers. I think they'll re-work his contract. I want him to stay. I just don't see anyone giving up coveted draft capitol for a back on his 2nd contract in today's NFL. They believe they can draft one.

I think they would only do an in-season trade for an injury reason if they are doing a playoff push as San Fran did.

+ REPLY
-1 points
1
2
Coldworld's picture

January 24, 2023 at 04:09 pm

I think we might do as you suggest, but that will be in The context of running it back with Rodgers I fear. Jones being retained would be far from the most illogical part of that plan.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
T7Steve's picture

January 25, 2023 at 07:28 am

I'm hoping they bring him back if Rodgers leaves too. He'd be more valuable to Love and kicking his down the road won't hurt as much.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
jurp's picture

January 24, 2023 at 04:00 pm

I see your points, but Murphy's apparent line of reasoning (if you can call it that) seems to indicate that Steve's thoughts will prevail. Let's bring back the gang for our third One Last Push to the Super Bowl. Yee-haw!

Is it just me, or do pretty much all sequels suck more than the original? This one sure does.

+ REPLY
4 points
4
0
Swisch's picture

January 24, 2023 at 12:29 pm

Keep Aaron Jones!
Having just turned 28 in December, and without overmuch wear and tear over the years, he's going to continue as a dynamic star for the next two or three seasons, a mover of the chains and a gamebreaker.
Whoever is the quarterback, we want Jones as a veteran playmaker.
If it's Love at QB, I want him to have the presence of Jones as a trusted aid to power the offense.
Also, I don't think a total rebuild is in order, but a selective rebuild. Under Love, and with Jones, I want the Packers to vie for a playoff spot next season, at the very least. I think across the roster we have the talent.
Plus, Jones seems to be unanimously acknowledged as a great guy for professionalism and team play and overall character. Also, he has previously shown a willingness to work out a contract that is good for the team and for him.
We need to find ways to keep guys like Aaron Jones as Packers.

+ REPLY
6 points
6
0
MainePackFan's picture

January 24, 2023 at 04:36 pm

Not to mention his ability to pick up the blitz. He's an underrated blocker.

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
ricky's picture

January 24, 2023 at 02:11 pm

If the Packers decide to keep Jones around, they have other options for saving cap space. These would include moving on from Bakhtiari, who is going to count almost $29 million against the cap. If cut pre-June 1, the hit goes down to under $6 million. That is, if I am reading the Over the Cap (https://overthecap.com/player/david-bakhtiari/2377) If I'm wrong, let me know.

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
BA4Packers's picture

January 24, 2023 at 05:19 pm

Trade Rodgers to the Jets. Pick Broderick Jones OT at 13. Picks Robison RB at 15. Restructure/extend Kenny Clark. Trade Bahktiari and Jones after June 1. Pick up Miami’s free agent TE. Problems solved!

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
PackyCheese500's picture

January 25, 2023 at 04:57 pm

Easier said than done. I can't imagine that we wouldn't use at least one first on defense if we have multiple come April

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Since'61's picture

January 24, 2023 at 07:21 pm

There is only one reason to keep Aaron Jones. He is the Packers best offensive player. The offense goes through him and will continue to do so regardless of who is playing QB. I would keep Jones and continue building the OL for him to run behind. If the Packers trade Jones they will need to replace Jones and continue building the OL anyway. I say retain the guy who knows the offense and can score from anywhere on the field and put more resources into the OL.

Jones will give the Packers at least one more good season and probably two. He keeps himself in excellent shape and he runs hard and has good hands. Do the Packers really want to lose Rodgers, Jones, plus Bak, Lazard and Lewis??? Not much of a car left for handing over the keys to Love. Doesn't seem fair to me.
Thanks, Since '61

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
BA4Packers's picture

January 26, 2023 at 07:58 am

Broderick Jones is the #3 OT in a strong 2023 class. Robinson has a 9.0 grade in a strong RB class. He’ll be exciting to watch. I’ll take Gisecki over Tonyan but I’d try to keep both. There will be some early season growing pains but change is needed.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Jgilmor08's picture

January 24, 2023 at 07:25 pm

The logical way that Jones stays with the team is through restructuring. A release should be the last option. Based on his statistical production they should want him on the team especially if Love is the QB1 next season to ease his transition.

Finally the most effective way to get beyond this cap crunch is getting rid of the most costly piece within the whole organization, Brian Gutekunst.

First round pick on a QB who would play as a back up for four seasons. Signing QB1 to huge extension after using said draft capital.

2nd round pick on a RB who would play his first four years as a back up to RB1. Sign RB1 to largest per season contract currently in NFL for a RB

Drafting in the 3rd round in general. Since 75% of those picks are no longer playing pro ball that kinda shows where the scouting was at.

Not drafting a WR high in the draft and expecting Jmon Moore to be a baller. Then having awful depth at position for his entire tenure until panicking to grab Christian Watson using 2 second round picks to achieve it.

Not drafting a serviceable TE during his tenure.

Using two 2nd round picks on a receiver you could’ve gotten with your second 1st round selection then drafted one of the two defensive players with the first 2nd round pick and kept the capital gained from losing the best receiver in the NFL and draft a quality TE.

To recap that’s one botched first rounder, one thrown away 2nd and fumbled 2nd. Oh and who could forget Jason Spriggs in the 2nd, 4 third rounders and of a total 34 draft selections only 3 being high end starters or fringe pro bowlers. Over the previous 5 off seasons Green Bay has the 21st rated drafts according to PFF. This year was a better indication of the teams talent level. It’s a damn shame everyone points the finger at AR12 or MLF. Using logic it’s painfully obvious the team has succeeded because of them not inspite of. However it’s going to take a full Kevin Love tanking and two seasons of sub .500 play before they finally get rid of him. It’s a results driven business and his results simply aren’t there.

+ REPLY
-1 points
0
1
Ferrari-Driver's picture

January 24, 2023 at 09:29 pm

Aside from Aaron Jones value on the field, he is genuinely a nice guy that is well liked and is a positive influence in the locker room and the city.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
dcoop's picture

January 25, 2023 at 10:01 am

In my opinion, Aaron Jones is the one player the Packers must have on the team and on field next season. We all understand cap casualties, but this man has done everything the franchise has asked and of him and more. Two years in a row being nominated for NFL Man of the Year Award by the Packers. Respected by fans and teammates. Not to mention his on the field contributions. If he is allowed to walk. This one will bother me for a while.

+ REPLY
-1 points
0
1
PackyCheese500's picture

January 25, 2023 at 04:55 pm

Apparently, CHTV saw that Jones was unhappy about the article advocating for cutting him!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.