Aaron Jones was a vital component of the Packers attack. It fits the bill perfectly due to the amount of versatility it brings, as a breaking runner steps in, as does the pass catcher and even as a blocker for Aaron Rodgers.
Jones will play under a ceiling of $5.9 million in 2022, a slight increase from $4.4 million a year earlier.
The problem lies in the year 2023. That’s when his hat rose to $20 million. Jair Alexander will be a free agent in 2023 and earn top dollar as will Elgton Jenkins – one of the league’s most versatile forwards.
Unless the Packers restructure his deal, I don’t see how Jones is in Green Bay after 2022. According to OverTheCap.com, the cap number is $4 million if the Packers cut it after June 1, with a savings of $16 million.
The reason this is so important now is that the packers have to figure out if AJ Dillon can handle the load. But I think they already did. They saw him grab and run and block. Sure, Dillon isn’t as witty as Jones, but Dillon also gives the packs a lot of flexibility.
As this season approaches, the maximum numbers for contestant appearances are 1. Ezekiel Elliott ($18.2 million), 2. Derek Henry ($15 million), 3. Dalvin Cook ($11.8 million), 4. Joe Mixon ($11.4 million) 5 Christian McCaffrey ($8.7 million). There’s no reason to give Jones $20 million when Dalvin Cook – the highest-grossing NFC in my opinion – tops out at $15.6 million in 2024.
The X factor in all of this is Kylin Hill. He played Jones before he ruptured his ACL at the end of the season in October. He’s skilled, he can do multiple things, and most importantly, he’s much cheaper. The question will remain if Hill returns to one hundred percent mentally and physically.
Because if he’s not willing to accommodate the connection, could Dillon have a daily noon? He’s proven that he can pick up passes and runs and make people miss them and he’s also willing to object. But is he willing to do it week in and week out when the teams get involved with him?
That’s why the Jones and Dillon combo worked so well. When Dillon ran well between tackles, Matt LaFleur quickly shifted gears and let Jones break it outside. The moment the opponent’s defense doesn’t have their defense on the field, the ball goes to Dillon as he makes his way to big wins.
The Packers will likely ask Jones if he’s willing to restructure his deal to stay in Green Bay. If he refuses, I don’t see him walking around. The NFL draft showed us how much the GMs value wide receivers as six went in the first 18 picks.
This isn’t a three yards and a cloud of dust game anymore. These are dynamic abuses and happiness that likes to keep defenses guessing.
There could also be this scenario where Jones lines up at a wide receiver for a number of shots. He has a very good output and can have the opposite effect of Deebo Samuel. Maybe he wants more money because of all that is asked of him.