Packers Aiming To Reduce Aaron Jones’ Cap Number, Not Expected To Re-Sign AJ Dillon

Just more than a year ago, the Packers helped lay the groundwork for a rough running back year. They reached a pay-cut agreement with Aaron Jones, ensuring he would stay for the 2023 season. That pact paid off, with Jones helping drive the team to the divisional round.

GM Brian Gutekunst said earlier this offseason the team planned to retain Jones, who is going into his age-29 season. But the Packers are interested in lowering Jones’ $17MM 2024 cap number. With this being the final year of the talented running back’s contract, such a reduction is a trickier matter.

Packers brass and Jones’ agent met Friday about making the change, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein. It is unclear how the sides plan to accomplish this goal. Also unclear: how motivated Green Bay is to make the move. An all-or-nothing effort on this front would naturally put Jones’ roster spot in jeopardy. An extension would help here, as going deeper into the void years well would increase dead money associated with the contract-year RB.

Jones accepted a $5MM reduction in exchange for an $8.52MM signing bonus last February. The void years from that adjustment run through 2027. Were Jones to depart as a free agent next year, the Pack would be hit with $6.6MM in dead money. Should Green Bay release the productive back now, a post-June 1 designation would probably be necessary. That would only leave the team with $5.7MM in 2024 dead money, while bringing more than $11MM in cap savings. That said, Jones remains a valuable piece and the only veteran presence among the team’s skill-position corps.

A four-year Packer contributor, AJ Dillon is on track for free agency. The between-the-tackles bulldozer is not expected to be re-signed, Silverstein adds. Although Jones battled hamstring and knee injuries in 2023, he returned and ripped off a borderline-dominant stretch to help the Packers make a late-season charge that ended with the team putting a scare into the eventual NFC champion 49ers in Round 2. Jones put together for five consecutive 100-plus-yard rushing games to close the season. Dillon did not fare as well in a contract year.

The former second-round pick averaged a career-low 3.4 yards per carry, scoring just two touchdowns. The Packers leaned on their experienced RBs last season, deploying a WR-TE contingent consisting entirely of first- or second-year players. Dillon totaled 1,573 rushing yards and 12 TDs between the 2021 and ’22 seasons, becoming a popular presence in Green Bay despite a limited pass-game skillset.

Jones is one of the game’s best dual-threat backs, and the Packers would certainly miss the former fifth-round pick if he was jettisoned. That said, a host of options will be available to RB-needy teams in free agency. That spells trouble for Dillon, who joins Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, Austin Ekeler, Derrick Henry, Tony Pollard, D’Andre Swift and Gus Edwards as notable backs set to hit the market. The Bengals may add Joe Mixon to this list soon as well. This would help the team with Jones, who is due an $11.1MM base salary next season. Though, it is unclear if the Packers are planning another pay-cut ultimatum.

The Packers recently created some cap space by restructuring the contracts of Preston Smith and Rashan Gary, per’s Field Yates and’s Tom Pelissero. The moves created more than $7MM in cap space together. Green Bay, which is also likely to release David Bakhtiari, currently holds just more than $14MM in cap room.

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