Aaron Jones declined significant pay cut from Packers before being released

Running back Aaron Jones declined what would have been a significant pay cut before the Green Bay Packers released him on Monday, according to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic. Jones was due to make $12 million in the final year of his deal in 2024. The Packers asked for a pay cut at or approaching 50 percent of his 2024 salary.

Instead of accepting another pay cut, Jones declined the offer and is now a free agent. It’s likely his representation believes he can get more money on the open market than the Packers were willing to offer on an adjusted contract for 2024.

A release is always a possible outcome when a team and player discuss a pay cut.

The Packers wanted to drastically lower Jones’ cap number, which sat a little above $17 million in 2024. Last year, Jones accepted a pay cut of $5 million.

Per Schneidman, Jones declined the Packers’ final offer late last week, setting the stage for general manager Brian Gutekunst to aggressively target Josh Jacobs, the NFL’s 2022 rushing champ, to take over as the new top running back in Green Bay. Jacobs agreed to terms on Monday.

It’s easy to see why both sides — Jones and the Packers — held firm. Jones missed six games and exited several others due to lower body injuries in 2023, and he’s entering his age 30 season. Running backs rarely get better or stay healthier as they age, especially near or at age 30. But Jones also proved his difference-making ability to end last season when he ripped off five straight 100-yard rushing games and was the NFL’s most dominant runner to end 2023.

Jacobs has plenty of usage at the NFL level but is almost four years younger than Jones. The Packers are betting on Jacobs staying healthy and remaining a difference maker longer than Jones, who figures to have plenty of suitors now that he’s free. One of note already? The Minnesota Vikings, per Schneidman.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire