Over the last two seasons, Aaron Jones has been one of the most productive running backs in the NFL (over 1,400 total yards each season; 30 combined total touchdowns). The Green Bay Packers were theoretically open to franchise tagging him, but Tuesday’s deadline came and went. Now Jones will hit the open market.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the Packers offered Jones “more than $9 million per year.” That’s not upper-tier running back market money, which stretches toward $12-$13 million per year. There’s wisdom in not ponying up for a running back. But the Packers aren’t making a credible effort to keep Jones either.
The Miami Dolphins have been tied to Jones as the No. 1 suitor for him, and there are others (New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers) who can make case to pursue him.
Late last month, Mike Clay of ESPN predicted Jones would sign with the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons definitely have a need at running back, with Todd Gurley a free agent and no proven commodities left on the roster. But they are also over the salary cap right now ($14.2 million, via Over The Cap), and they’ll have to really reverse that situation to make a viable run at anyone notable in free agency.
Points Bet (h/t to Pro Football Talk) has already offered a list of betting favorites to sign Jones.
San Francisco 49ers-+375
Green Bay Packers–+500
New York Jets-+500
The Falcons, for whatever it’s worth, made the list of betting favorites to sign Jones. In concert with Clay’s fantasy-angled prediction, there may be some under-the-radar steam there.
Coming off a 4-12 season, the Falcons are ripe for a rebuild. But on the other end, with Matt Ryan remaining the quarterback, a full tear-down isn’t necessarily coming in 2021. So there’s a case for them to pursue someone like Jones, if they can make a credible offer. That’s a big ‘if’, but never say never on the idea Jones will sign with the Falcons.