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Nothing gets Football Twitter going more than a good old-fashioned debate about running back value.
When news broke on Sunday afternoon that the Green Bay Packers were re-signing Aaron Jones to a four-year deal worth $48 million the virtual ink was barely dry on the Ian Rapoport tweet announcing the deal before your timeline was probably filled with various tweets condemning the deal, and perhaps the Packers as well.
First, the actual numbers. According to the NFL Network, Jones’ contract is valued at $48 million, with reportedly $13 million in the form of a signing bonus. That is expected to be the only guaranteed money in the deal. Therefore, releasing Jones would cost the Packers only the remaining signing bonus each season, which prorates over the four years of the contract.
As such, it is not an absurdly ridiculous deal for a running back. Yes, it does make Jones the sixth-highest paid RB in the league. But as we have seen over the past few seasons, Jones is becoming a well-rounded running back, perfect for the modern game. Matt LaFleur is using him as a receiver, both out of the backfield and aligned wide before the snap. When you have a player that can do things like this:
That is more than just a between-the-tackles thumper. That is a true offensive weapon. So while the top-line number looks huge for a running back (in this economy?!) consider what Jones is likely to earn over the time he spends in Green Bay, balance that with what he brings to the offense, and understand that it is not a situation where the sky is falling.
As for why, given this, the deal does not get a higher grade. Well, the Packers will need to make some complementary moves to make the numbers work:
When you start having to make other deals to get the numbers to click on an extension for a running back, that is going to dock you a grade or two…