Mar
27
2021

Aaron Jones Cites “Unfinished Business” As Reason For Return To Packers

For much of the 2020 NFL season, it appeared as if the Green Bay Packers were going to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. That possibility became a close reality when they clinched homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. The Packers, it seemed, had it all going for them. They had the NFL’s top-scoring offense. They had a top-ten defense. However, all their expectations came crashing down with a second-consecutive loss in the NFC Championship Game. For Aaron Jones, who was entering free agency, that was not the way to end his Packers’ career.

Unfinished Business

In a recent interview with the media, Aaron Jones said:

“Walking off the field the last game with my head down and not the way I wanted it to end and going through my mind, I’m like, ‘Man is this way my career’s going to end in Green Bay and in Lambeau?’ I definitely didn’t want to finish my career like that here, and I’m just blessed to be able to come back and suit back up here.”

When addressing his contract that he signed with the Packers, Jones said:

“We feel like we have unfinished business, so I just feel like it was the right fit for me.” 

It is not difficult to determine what that unfinished business is. Aaron Jones and the Packers want to win a Super Bowl. As Aaron Rodgers enters his final contract year, their window may be closing quicker than most people think. Of course, the Packers may still extend Aaron Rodgers, but they have not done so yet. After 2021, the future of the Packers is up in the air.

Did Aaron Jones Leave More Money on the Table?

During the 2020 season, it was reported that Aaron Jones had fired his agent and hired Drew Rosenhaus. It was also reported that he turned down a contract from the Packers. This deal reportedly would have made him one of the top-five highest paid running backs in the NFL. Many cited the desire for guaranteed money as the cause for his turning down the contract.

When the season ended the the NFL’s salary cap was determined to be just about $180 million, many believed Aaron Jones was as good as gone from Green Bay. It was not until Jones signed a four-year $48 million deal with the Packers that people realized Green Bay was his preferred destination all along.

His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, stated that he believed Jones could have gotten more money in free agency. After all, Jones signed with the Packers just ahead of the start of free agency. Jones, however, did not see it that way:

“It’s more money than my previous contract and if you continue to work, it will be there. Like I said, I feel like this is a perfect fit for me. I’ve been in this offense. I know what comes with it. I know my teammates here, and we feel like we have unfinished business, so I just feel like it was the right fit for me.”

Aaron Jones Believes the Best Is Yet to Come

Aaron Jones is coming off of his second-straight 1,000 yard season. In 2019, Jones rushed for 1,084 yards and led the NFL in rushing (16) and total (19) touchdowns. Last season, he had 1,104 yards and nine rushing touchdowns (11 touchdowns overall). He was also one of seven Packers to be named to the Pro Bowl in 2020. It was the first time in his career that he received that honor.

However, as good as he has been over the past two season, Jones believes that he has not even scratched the surface of his potential:

As mentioned previously, the Green Bay Packers had the NFL’s highest scoring offense in 2020. Though All-Pro center Corey Linsley departed in free agency, most of the team’s core on offense is returning. We have seen just how good Aaron Jones can be in coach Matt LaFleur’s system. If he can stay healthy, Jones very well may be right.

Will He Play Out His Contract?

The contract that Aaron Jones signed, as mentioned previously, is a four-year deal worth $48 million. However, it really boils down to a two-year $20 million deal due to the drastic jump in his contract’s cap hit after the first two seasons. Undoubtedly, the Packers will likely either release Jones or restructure the contract after 2022. It is highly unlikely he plays out this current deal.

That being said, the Packers have one of the best running backs in the NFL leading their backfield. Along with AJ Dillon, they boast one of the most intriguing one-two punches in the league. Jones, a quick, slashing back is complimented perfectly with Dillon’s bruising running style. While the future of the Packers beyond 2021 is, in a word, messy, one thing is certain: Aaron Jones is going to be fun to watch.

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