After Packers running back Aaron Jones racked up 236 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in Sunday’s eventual romp over the Lions, Jones told me by phone with a laugh, “I’m gonna have to go and call my agent.”
Maybe Jones, a fourth-year running back who has yet to get his second contract, also should enlist quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the quest for a new contract.
Appearing Friday on The Rich Eisen Show, Rodgers heaped praise on Jones.
“He’s just been really, really special to watch,” Rodgers said. “There’s some guys who you can’t help but pull for because they do things the right way. And Jonesy is one of those guys. He is one of the greatest teammates that I’ve had in 16 years. He is the most respectful teammate possibly that we’ve ever had. I mean, he’s still ‘yes sir, no sir’ to so many people– basically everybody older than him around the facility.
“He’s just such a great kid. And he is not jealous, doesn’t have any jealousy. He cheers for his teammates, he pulls for them. He blocks his ass off. He’s obviously a great runner of the football. He can take it to the distance. He’s worked hard on areas that he hasn’t, you know, that he’s needed to improve on, whether it’s route running, pass catching, blocking, understanding certain intricacies of the system.
“He’s a great representation of our organization and the community. You know, I think he’s made some mistakes, he’s owned up to them. And he is one of the greatest young players we’ve got in our locker room, and such a great kid. You can’t help but pull for him, and just so proud of what he’s accomplished. He adds so much to our team. He’s such a dynamic player and an even better person.”
Still, even as other great fourth-year running backs have gotten their second contracts (Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara), Jones is still waiting. When I asked Jones about the fact that he hasn’t gotten paid yet, he didn’t complain at all. And he likewise expressed zero concern about the injury risk that he continues to bear while he plays out the final 14 games of his rookie deal.
Here’s hoping that the Packers aren’t using Jones’ excellent nature and mindset against him. Generally speaking, great running backs needs to make their push for a contract before the start of their fourth seasons. Otherwise, the franchise-tag dance occurs, and the player likely ends up with a lot less than he could have had, after carrying the injury risk through those first four seasons.
With Jones, there’s been no talk of holding out or holding in or causing any type of trouble. If anything, that makes him even more worthy of the financial investment he deserves. His value may become even more evident to a national audience on Sunday night, when the Packers face the Saints — and when Jones and Kamara (who has gotten his reward) can be compared on an apples-to-apples (sort of) basis.