For the second year in a row, the Green Bay Packers fell one game shy of making the Super Bowl. For a while, it looked like the 31-26 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might be the last game of Aaron Jones‘ tenure with the team.
Jones has impressed with the Packers since the team took him in the fifth-round of the 2017 NFL Draft, out of UTEP. He broke out in a big way in 2019, rushing for 1,084 yards and a career high 16 touchdowns, and followed it up with an 1,104 yard season in 2020.
Unfortunately, his 2020 season ended on a sour note. After putting up 99 yards and a touchdown in the team’s 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams to advance to the conference championship, injuries kept him from making a huge impact against the Bucs. He was held to just 27 yards on six carries.
Jones was not franchise tagged, and hit free agency this offseason. Other teams were after him, but ultimately he returned to the Green Bay Packers, and for a pretty decent price. He’ll make over $14 million this year, the first of a four-year deal worth $48 million (though, as is usually the case for NFL players, the team can get out of the deal early without much of an issue.) Jones seems thrilled to be back, and says that he feels like he and the Packers have unfinished business.
Aaron Jones knew the possibility of leaving the Packers was real. He said after the NFC title game loss: "Man, is this the way my career is going to end in Green Bay? … I feel like we have unfinished business." https://t.co/NeSPuElAB6 pic.twitter.com/LyG8Ptom3t
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) March 26, 2021
Retaining Aaron Jones was big for the Packers offense, though some would have rather seen that money spent to retain center Corey Linsley, who left for the Los Angeles Chargers. The team has also been up against the salary cap, and hasn’t had a chance to add much beyond what they had in 2020.
With all of the speculation surrounding Aaron Rodgers‘ future, the window for the team to win a title is closing. Jones seems happy to be in Green Bay, at least for another year or two while the team tries to chase a second ring with Rodgers under center.
For his mother, the decision to stay with the Packers came as no surprise.
#Packers fans might have been sitting on pins and needles waiting for Aaron Jones' FA decision but his mother, Vurgess, called it from the start:
"My mom was telling me the whole time, ‘You’re going to end back up in Green Bay. Don’t worry about it’… I guess mom always knows."
— Wes Hodkiewicz (@WesHod) March 26, 2021
Pressure is high for the Green Bay Packers right now, but the team’s star running back is right where he wants to be.