The Packers opened up extension talks with Aaron Jones at the combine earlier this year, ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky hears. As it stands, the running back is set to reach free agency for the first time in his career following the 2020 season.
Jones, still only 25, made a strong case for himself with a monster 2019. The former fifth-round pick ran for 1,084 yards with a league-leading 16 touchdowns and averaged 4.6 yards per carry as the Packers’ primary back. He also hauled in 49 receptions – one of several new career watermarks – for 474 yards and three scores.
A new deal for Jones wouldn’t approach Christian McCaffrey‘s new record-breaking extension with the Panthers, though CMC’s deal will bolster the market for running backs everywhere. That’s especially true for dual-threat types like Jones. More than ever, the league recognizes the impact of RB1s that also provide WR2/WR3 value.
The Packers don’t have an in-house replacement for Jones and, as Demovsky writes, their approach to the early rounds of the draft may tip their plans. The Packers have bigger fish to fry than running back – wide receivers and run-stuffers are on their to-do list – so drafting an RB inside of the first two rounds would speak volumes. Someone like Florida State’s Cam Akers could serve as a strong complimentary back for Jones in Year One and, potentially, take over as the starter in 2021.
Through injuries, suspensions, and committees, Jones has shined throughout his Packers tenure – albeit in a limited sample size for his first two seasons. Between 2017 and 2018, Jones averaged 5.5 yards per carry on a total of 214 attempts. This past season, he held strong with his 4.6 yard average on 236 attempts.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.