Inside the Aaron Jones deal

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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.

18 responses to “Inside the Aaron Jones deal

  1. Time will tell if they should’ve used that $12 million this year to keep the best center in football.

  2. This is smart for a RB. In 2 years he’s either worth keeping, easy to walk away from, or there is money there to negotiate a team friendly extension. Smart for him to gdt that cash upfront, too.

  3. Over his career he’s averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Not too long ago people considered 3.5 yards per carry a decent RB. Literally has averaged 5.5 yards per carry three times and 4.6 once.

  4. It’s essentially a two year deal with a slight premium payment over what would have been the tagged value, but the team gets the benefit of the smaller salary cap hits.
    Which has become obviously important, especially this offseason.

    Shrewd deal as long as Aaron stays healthy and doesn’t regress.
    And even then the team has safeguards in place.
    The Packers have never treated him like a workhorse so there’s no immediate cause for concern.

    Personally, as much as I love Aaron Jones, my first instinct was to move on with Dillon and a 3rd day draft pick.
    Purely from a cost savings perspective.
    But in light of the details of this contract, I’m pleased a deal was reached.

    With Jones being such a big part of the overall offensive scheme, and AJ Dillon growing into his punishing secondary role, I see good things coming from the Packers backfield.

  5. JWill was signed on the cheap. If we could have had him and Davis or Golladay or the like, I don’t know what I would have done. Still a few WR left like TY.

  6. It is unclear to me why the Packers didn’t just Franchise Jones this year with the plan to develop the RB drafted last year or Franchise him again in 2022. The two years of Franchsie tagging, according to the article, are $8.7MM (2021) and $10.4MM (2022) or a combined $19.1MM, with the cap hits being each salary per each season. Versus what is essentially a 2 year commitment at $20MM, with cap hits of $4.5MM (2021) and $9.0MM (2022) but with a dead money cap hit for 2023 of $6.5MM. I know there is a $4.2MM cap savings for this year and $1.4MM for 2022, but they are paying him almost $1MM extra and will almost certainly absorb a deadcap hit in two years.

    This would make way more sense if the Packers hadn’t invested a 2nd round pick in last years draft to take A.J. Dillion . . . one would think that they would want to tranisition in 2022 to their rookie in an effort to take on more salary in Free Agency and put more talent around Rodgers. In that case then they could have eaten all of the Franchise Tag salary of $8.7MM this year, groomed Dillion to take over as the starter in 2022 and saved over $11MM in total salary to invest in other areas.

    Their strategy seems completely unclear, unless of course they have already givne up on AJ Dillion, which is pathetic, given he was their 2nd round pick in 2020 and they used their 1st round pick on 2019 on a backup QB. I think Rodgers has a right to be pissed off at the GM and front office personal management folks, as they seem to be pissing away some of the best years of his career. Maybe they will surprise by bringing some offensive skilled talent into the fold, maybe a trade with the Eagles for Zack Ertz – which certainly would open up the outside for Rodgers . . . but absent a different tack by management it seems the Pack are destined for another frustrating offseason.

  7. the strategy is quite clear, it’s based on the $200,000 per game bonuses. If he’s out injured for 5 games that’s 1 million they don’t have to pay him. If he was tagged, he’d be paid the full amount.

  8. In essence, if he is on the roster, he is earning $12 mil per year. Not performance based. On the roster, he gets the money. Packer fans told us they hated any RB at $10 mil+. They told us that. They are telling us something different now.

  9. You don’t franchise him, because this guarantees that he doesn’t show up at the last minute, or worse, Week 10. He’s playing for you – that’s why there’s a premium over the tag value paid to him. Team gave up something (money), he gave up something (his ability to hold out).

  10. That’s actually a smart deal by the Pack, maybe not so smart for Jones. See, some opposing fans can be complimentary. Then again, I’ve started my weekend early. . . .

  11. conormacleod says:
    March 19, 2021 at 12:34 pm
    In essence, if he is on the roster, he is earning $12 mil per year. Not performance based. On the roster, he gets the money. Packer fans told us they hated any RB at $10 mil+. They told us that. They are telling us something different now.
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Well, you’re the one that said Rodgers was over-the-hill and washed-up and finished and the Packers would do no better than 7-9 last year. Let’s call it even.

  12. >> ariani1985 says: Average at best <<

    The Viking's Mission Statement is now part of the conversation.

  13. What’s missing in the analysis is that while the Packers pay out $14.25 million in Cash this year the cap hit is only $4.5 million.

    Next year they pay $5.75 million with a $9 million cap hit. Next year they frontload Davante and go all-in. You kick the can with difference makers.

  14. Its a great deal for both sides, as someone stated about holding out and waiting to sign the tag, is a non issue, even though I think most feel Jones wouldn’t be that kind of person. No the Packers haven’t given up on Dillon, its just that you need more than one quality RB on a roster, and he is young yet, so preserving his legs isn’t the worst, but last and not least. The nice thing for Jones even if the Packers turn him loose on the option portion of his contract it gives him one more chance to cash in before becoming that “30 year old RB.” Which is something TT had done with MANY of his contract when trying to resign players player so practically any position.

  15. The $200k in roster bonuses in 2021 is the total, not per game. Assuming 17 games, it’s less than $12k per game. Missing 5 games would give GB back $60k, not $1m.

    I still think it’s a decent deal for GB – a better alternative than the franchise tag given the cap flexibility it gives them. I think we as fans underestimate how much the players hate the tag, and using it creates a real tension with the players Lauer that is best avoided. With all the moves Tampa made, they didn’t tag anybody.

    GB has more confidence in their ability with Stenovich & draft capital to cover losing Linsley than they did to cover losing Jones. Plus Jones was much cheaper. Plus the compensatory pick will be a 4th versus probably a 5th at best for losing Jones.

    All part of the equation.

  16. In comparison, it’s not a stretch to prefer keeping Jones over Williams when the monies are minimally disparate.

  17. packfaninmn says:

    March 20, 2021 at 12:08 pm

    …I still think it’s a decent deal for GB – a better alternative than the franchise tag given the cap flexibility it gives them. I think we as fans underestimate how much the players hate the tag, and using it creates a real tension with the players Lauer that is best avoided. With all the moves Tampa made, they didn’t tag anybody….
    ————–
    Chris Godwin would like to disagree as he was tagged and FWIW Shaq Barrett was tagged last year

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