Aaron Jones
Will the Packers make Aaron Jones a priority long term? Other running backs from Jones’ draft class have been paid already. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Will The Packers Make Aaron Jones A Priority Long Term?

Paying running backs has often been a bad idea but there are a few exceptions to the rule. Multiple running backs from the 2017 NFL Draft have gotten paid. Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, and Alvin Kamara all look like good investments long term.

One running back from that draft class that hasn’t gotten his money is Aaron Jones. Not only has Jones been a home run pick in the 5th round but he’s also turned into one of the best backs in the NFL. Will Green Bay make Jones a priority long term?

The Packers have not been a team that historically pays up to keep homegrown talent. Davante Adams has been a rare exception but he also didn’t land a top dollar contract with the Packers either. Most of the time, it’s been guys like Randall Cobb, Blake Martinez, and Greg Jennings. They give you four or five years and move on.

Green Bay has already tried to draft the replacement. AJ Dillon was in the second round for a reason. If they don’t like Jones’ price tag, they may find it makes more sense to bring back Jamaal Williams instead. They could also draft someone else to split time with Dillon.

Jones will likely command a hefty contract on the open market. He’s the best running back on the open market. The other backs available include Kenyan Drake, Todd Gurley, and Phillip Lindsay. There aren’t a lot of other options out there. Jones will have suitors.

Jones has been fantastic in 2020. On the season, Jones is averaging five yards per carry on 90 attempts. A year ago, Jones led the NFL with 16 rushing touchdowns. The former UTEP product has proven he’s not just someone you replace. The offense is significantly more dynamic when the Packers free Aaron Jones.

It’s going to be very interesting to see what the Packers do with someone like Jones. The franchise tag or transition tag feels like a possible outcome. The only thing that is clear is that Aaron Rodgers can’t afford to let another key piece of the offense to leave.