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The Packers didn’t apply the franchise tag to running back Aaron Jones. Then, Green Bay signed him to a new four-year deal. The details of the contract finally have emerged.
The four-year, $48 million contract has a $13 million signing bonus. That’s the only fully guaranteed cash in the contract. The deal includes a non-guaranteed salary of $1 million in 2021 (as a practical matter, it will be paid), along with a $200,000 in per-game roster bonuses and a $50,000 workout bonus for 2021.
In 2022, Jones has a roster bonus of $3.75 million due on the first day of the league year, along with a $1.1 million base salary, $400,000 in per-game roster bonuses, and a $500,000 workout bonus. None of the payments are guaranteed.
For 2023, a $7 million roster bonus is due on the third day of the league year, with a base salary of $8.1 million, $400,000 in per-game roster bonuses, and a $500,000 workout bonus. None of the payments are guaranteed.
In the final year of the deal, Jones gets a base salary of $11.1 million, along with $400,000 in per-game roster bonuses and a $500,000 workout bonus. None of the payments are guaranteed.
Instead of applying the franchise tag to Jones at $8.655 million this year and, if they so desired, $10.386 million in 2022 under a second tag, the Packers will pay Jones $14 million this year (and up to $250,000 in workout and per-game roster bonuses) with the ability to continue the contract in 2022, at an additional base rate of $4.875 million (and up to $900,000 in workout and per-game roster bonuses.
So it’s a one-year, $14.75 million deal and a year-to-year team-held option for 2022 and beyond. The total possible cash payout through two years becomes $20 million.
The biggest decision arrives in two years, when the Packers will be looking to $16 million for a third year. (The $7 million roster bonus forces a quick decision.)
The structure keeps with Green Bay’s typical reluctance to fully guarantee money beyond the first year of a non-quarterback deal. For the extra $6 million paid to Jones above the tag in 2021, the Packers have secured the ability to decide, one year at a time, whether to keep Jones.