Packers Predicted to Cut Ties with $48 Million Playmaker

Matt LaFleur, Packers

Getty Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers.

The Green Bay Packers parted ways with QB Aaron Rodgers last offseason and wide receiver Davante Adams the one before that. The team could make it three in a row next spring with running back Aaron Jones‘ future in question.

Dan Graziano of ESPN predicted on Friday, November 3, that the Packers will hand Jones his walking papers ahead of the 2024 campaign considering his recent injury history and the amount of cap savings he represents.

The Packers are middle-of-the-pack in projected 2024 cap space, but Jones turns 29 in December and is having trouble staying on the field this season with a hamstring injury. He has only 29 carries over four games. We know the Packers were poking around on Jonathan Taylor when he made his offseason trade demand, too.

Jones will have one year left after this season on a deal he had to rework this past offseason to avoid being cut. The Packers would save $11.45 million next year in cap space if they made him a post-June 1 cut.

David Bakhtiari is the most obvious cap-saving move for Green Bay, but his circumstances are different and well-publicized. Moving on from Jones would be a future-focused decision and one more piece of evidence that it’s tough for a running back in these salary cap streets.

Aaron Jones Not Part of Youth Movement Happening in Green Bay

Aaron Jones, Packers

GettyRunning back Aaron Jones of the Green Bay Packers.

All signs point to Jones as a superfluous talent on an offense that is trending young harder and faster than any franchise in the NFL.

General manager Brian Gutekunst spoke with the media on November 1 and explained the thought process behind constructing the youngest offense in the NFL, saying he wanted the skill position players to “grow together” with first-year starting quarterback Jordan Love, per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.

“We haven’t had the results we wanted, you know? We’d like the results to come fast, don’t get me wrong. But at the same time, the things that they’re going through are important, and they’re going through them,” Gutekunst said. “How we come out the other side remains to be seen, but I have a lot of confidence in the group and the guys that are coaching them. I think we’re all excited to see where we can go this last 10 games.”

Jones figures to be a big part of any success Green Bay can muster down the stretch, assuming relative health, but these games may also serve double-duty as his farewell tour. At 28 years old, Jones has achieved elder statesman status in the locker room. But with a salary cap hit of nearly $18 million in 2024, he will be a luxury the franchise probably just can’t afford.

A.J. Dillon Could Also Be Out of Green Bay Next Year

GettyRunning back A.J. Dillon of the Green Bay Packers.

Jones’ health issues opened a door for backup running back A.J. Dillon in a contract year, but he has stumbled through it.

Dillon’s 3.1 yards per carry is a full yard worse than his career-low since joining the NFL as a second-round pick in 2020. He has compiled 266 yards and 1 touchdown on the ground across seven games, per Pro Football Reference. At that pace, Dillon will rush the football more times this season than ever before but produce career lows in yards and touchdowns — excluding his rookie campaign.

A breakout season might have laid a path for Dillon to succeed Jones, earn a new and more lucrative contract, and enter 2024 as the presumed starter. Instead, Green Bay may look to go younger and cheaper at the running back position unless Dillon is willing to play at a discount.

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