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Aaron Jones Rumors: Packers RB Not Franchise-Tagged amid Contract Talks

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2021

Green Bay Packers' Aaron Jones runs off the field after an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers defeated the Rams 32-18 to advance to the NFC championship game. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Mike Roemer/Associated Press

The Green Bay Packers did not use the franchise tag on running back Aaron Jones, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

That will make him a free agent March 17, though Schefter added that the Packers are "attempting to re-sign him before he gets there."

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From @NFLTotalAccess: The #Packers did not franchise tag RB Aaron Jones, so he'll be free. But GB could still retain him. https://t.co/9VFzrs67mK

Jones, 26, has emerged as one of the better running backs in football over the past two seasons, rushing for 2,188 yards and 25 touchdowns in that time, adding 96 catches for 829 yards and five scores. He was a Pro Bowler in 2020. 

That makes him a key part of Green Bay's offense, though the Packers nonetheless bypassed the franchise tag. 

That could mean one of a few things. The Packers may simply believe they can come to terms on a long-term extension. Or they might not be worried about a vibrant market developing for Jones, given how much the position has been devalued in recent years.

Or the Packers aren't concerned with losing him, period, believing they can get similar production from 2020 second-round pick AJ Dillon (veteran Jamaal Williams will also be a free agent, though he will be far cheaper to retain). 

His free agency will be an interesting one. He's the top running back on the market and one of the top offensive players. He's in his prime, though he also already has 782 touches after four seasons and 533 in the last two. 

In the modern NFL, that's a sizeable workload for a running back. The days of 300-carry seasons are largely in the past, minus a few exceptions. Jones has been excellent for Green Bay, but it's hard to see him getting anything close to the type of deals players like Christian McCaffrey (four years, $64 million) and Alvin Kamara (five years, $75 million) have seen.

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