By not using their franchise tag on Aaron Jones, the Packers run the risk of losing their top running back next week in free agency. But the team has not given up on extending him prior to the start of the new league year, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
The Packers discussed the prospect of tagging Jones and continue to view him as part of their future, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link). Green Bay, which has not used the tag since 2010, is running out of time to salvage that future.
While the running back tag is not yet known, it could come in below even $9MM — thanks to the expected cap reduction — so it is somewhat surprising the Packers did not cuff Jones via the tag. Corey Linsley is expected to hit the market, so the team faces the real possibility of losing an All-Pro center and a Pro Bowl running back next week.
Jones’ negotiations with the Packers led to the running back changing agents. The 2020 talks produced an offer worth $12MM annually, but Green Bay’s proposal was light on guaranteed money. While 2017 running back draftees Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon opted for security ahead of free agency, Jones should enter a live market if he reaches free agency. The Dolphins are one known suitor for the two-time 1,000-yard rusher. With Jones the unquestioned No. 1 running back in free agency, it would take a lot for the Packers to keep him off the market at this point.
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