Green Bay Packers fans can breathe a sigh of relief as their top running back, Aaron Jones, has agreed to rework his contract and remain with the team.
Packers’ general manager, Brian Gutekunst, stated that he always expected to have Jones back next season. He praised the running back’s leadership, consistency and his ability to defy the odds, despite the initial concern about his size when they first signed him.
Last season, Jones had his third 1,000-yard rushing campaign since 2019, finishing with a career-high 1,121 yards and seven total touchdowns. Jones is returning to a team with playoff aspirations, and his reworked contract provides the Packers with some financial flexibility to navigate the offseason.
The original contract stated that Jones would earn $16 million. However, he agreed to cut $5 million in exchange for a signing bonus of $8.52 million, which will total to $11 million for the 2023 season. This move will significantly reduce Jones’ salary-cap figure, which was $20.013 million, including a $7 million roster bonus due next month and an $8.1 million base salary.
New deal for Aaron Jones means more cap space for Packers
The reworked contract will provide the Packers with some financial wiggle room as the team looks to stay within the salary cap. Jones’ initial contract had a cap number of more than $20 million for the 2023 season, and this move should create $11.8 million in cap savings for the team, according to Packers cap analyst, Ken Ingalls.
For Jones, the move means that he will still have two years remaining on his contract with the Packers, a four-year, $48 million deal that he signed in 2021. The contract always had a provision that the Packers could restructure it after two years if they did not release him.
Packers’ running game with Jones
Jones’ return also solidifies the Packers’ running game. The team has another promising running back in AJ Dillon, and the two of them will form a potent one-two punch in the backfield.
Jones has been one of the most consistent running backs in the league in recent years, averaging 1,027 rushing yards and almost eight rushing touchdowns per season in his four years under head coach Matt LaFleur. He has also contributed over 400 receiving yards and four touchdown catches per season.
Jones’ ability to catch passes out of the backfield has made him a versatile weapon in the Packers’ offense, and his 5.1 yards per rush rank him tied for eighth in NFL history.
Looking ahead for the Lions’ NFC Rival
The reworked contract of Aaron Jones is not the only one that the Packers will have to address. Left tackle, David Bakhtiari, is owed a $9.5 million bonus if he is on the roster on the third day of the league year, which begins on March 15. The team will have to decide whether to restructure or cut his pay to free up more cap space.
Gutekunst said last month that the team will likely restructure several contracts to keep making some salary-cap room, which could potentially impact other key players on the roster.
In the end, Jones’ decision to rework his contract and remain with the Packers will undoubtedly bring stability to the team’s running game and provide them with a chance to contend for a championship in the upcoming season.
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