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The Case for Paying Aaron Jones

Discussion in 'Green Bay Packers Fan Forum' started by Dantés, Mar 25, 2020.

Should the Packers Extend Jones (assumes he would accept contract comparable to the one mentioned)

Poll closed Apr 24, 2020.
  1. Yes

    73.7%
  2. No

    26.3%
  1. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    "Don't pay running backs" is the conventional wisdom of the moment in the NFL. And with good reason. The majority of big money extensions paid to the position have been disastrous lately.

    The Rams recently incurred a ton of dead money in order to move on from Todd Gurley. The Falcons are giving up 6M in cap space this year for Devonta Freeman not to play for them. Lev Bell's deal looked awful in year one. The Cardinals regretted paying David Johnson until they found someone stupid enough to take on his contract.

    So with Aaron Jones entering the last year of his deal, the Packers are confronted with a choice-- pay a RB a lucrative second contract, or let him walk?

    Here is the case for keeping him.

    Usage: Aaron Jones is entering year four in the league with 534 touches to his name, or 178/season. Another season comparable to 2019 will mean he will have 819 touches to his name by the time he lands that second contract, or 205/season.

    This is not a lot of wear and tear. For comparison, Todd Gurley accrued 914 touches by the end of year 3, or 305/season and 1,229 touches by the end of year 4 (307/season). Even Devonta Freeman, who didn't play much as a rookie, was at 714 touches by the end of year 3-- 180 more than Jones.

    At Jones' current rate (based on 2019 workload, not the average of his first three year-- 280 touches/season), Jones wouldn't top Gurley's year four number (1,229 touches) until the second year of his extension.

    So point #1 for keeping him is that he just hasn't had the heavy workload so far that would make him "damaged goods" on a second deal.

    Skill-set: As a runner, Jones' style is virtually a perfect fit for what this offense wants to accomplish. However, runners who fit a primarily zone rushing attack aren't that rare. The real argument that emerges to me in regards to skill-set is his receiving ability.

    Jones demonstrated on a number of occasions that he is a pretty rare talent as a receiving back. Most RB's in the NFL can catch short passes in the flats, via screens, or as an outlet in the short middle. Jones ran routes down the field and made catches that traveled 30+ yards in the air.

    For an offense that wants to run and pass effectively out of formations and play action that looks identical, this is an extremely useful skill set, and one that isn't easily replaceable.

    Market: The running back market is depressed and will continue to be depressed. Teams are going to shy away from paying backs as they see what's going on with current extensions. This should push the price tag down in terms of annual cost and length of commitment.

    Austin Ekeler just got paid 4/24.5 with 13.75 Gtd at signing. That's 6.125/season. The team can cut him after two seasons with a small dead cap hit (3M) and after three seasons with half of that (1.5M).

    Some might think that Ekeler isn't a good comparison, but consider their production last year:

    Jones: 285 touches for 1558 total yards, 5.5 yds/touch
    Ekeler: 224 touches for 1550 total yards, 6.9 yds/touch

    So let us assume that maybe Jones slots in just above Ekeler because he's more a focal piece of the ground game. That would potentially look like this:

    4/28 with 16 Gtd at signing, 7M/season. With a similar structure in which it's easy to get out of the contract after year 2, I think that would be a great move for the Packers.

    The high water mark of the deal, cap wise, would be 3.5% of the total cap (with the number getting smaller as the cap ceiling gets bigger). It would lock Green Bay in to his age 26 and 27 seasons, and essentially give them a team option for his age 28 and 29 seasons.

    If Jones would accept that deal or something like it, I think GB should jump on it.
     
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  2. gbgary

    gbgary Cheesehead

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    as good as he is, and i'd love for them to keep him, they can't afford him. trade him to someone, who CAN afford him, and start stockpiling draft picks.
     
  3. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    That's asinine. Why can't they afford him?
     
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  4. GreenNGold_81

    GreenNGold_81 Cheesehead

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    I'm a fan of keeping the core intact for as long as possible. A healthy Jones is an asset to any team, I for one would not want Green Bay to have to face him as I think he'd destroy our (current) defense. That said, we need insurance for this position and I'm hopeful they draft an RB with considerable upside this draft.
     
  5. PackAttack12

    PackAttack12 R-E-L-A-X

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    Doesn’t fit with his narrative/agenda that Aaron Rodgers has “cap strapped” (his favorite term) this team to the point that they cannot afford any other good players.
     
  6. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    Well he doesn't have a clue. Packers project to have 52M in space next off-season without releasing anyone. Certainly they won't have the room to wheel and deal like they did last off-season, but they can easily afford 7M for Jones if they like the value.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    The low touch count to date, as I observed earlier today, makes a second contract more plausible than with guys worn down over 4 years. However, if he gets 320 touches, 20 per game, this season plus more in the playoffs, I would look long and hard at bringing him back. I wouldn't expect that work load, but we'll see.

    If the market is depressed for RBs now and in the future, there should not be any great urgency.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
  8. metallicblaze

    metallicblaze Cheesehead

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    A 4-5 year deal at a not to big of a price would be nice. Teams and players know that RB's aren't getting paid like they used to so that should bring the price down. He fits in well at what we do as long as Marcedes Lewis is around. I don't think it's a coincidence our run game really got going once we finally got a decent blocker in there at TE.
     
  9. melvin dangerr

    melvin dangerr Cheesehead

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    “Re sign him” draft a backup RB, Jamaal is not a second option at RB anymore..
     
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  10. tynimiller

    tynimiller Cheesehead

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    Dantes, you know I'm in the camp of don't pay him big bucks. However, the Ekeler deal truly is the one and hopefully another similar which Green Bay can use as leverage. I will say, I'm even willing to up the guarantee and lower the overall cost for a guy like Jones IF he will do a similar type deal. We are I feel on the downward part of the RB salary bell curve in the league now and that is a good thing for sure IF we choose to retain Jones.
     
  11. AmishMafia

    AmishMafia Cheesehead

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    Signing a high dollar RB is a huge mistake. Dallas with Elliot and Rams with Gurley both regret their decision to sign a RB to big contracts. They don't last long and are easy to replace.
     
  12. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    It's as though you didn't read anything I wrote.
     
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  13. tynimiller

    tynimiller Cheesehead

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    Here's your challenge should you choose to accept @Dantés make another thread, but outline the case for not resigning.

    You'd blow the minds of some being able to articulate reasons with an opposite stance.....an intellectual exercise some cannot handle.
     
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  14. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    I'm on it. Thought I will probably just use this thread.
     
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  15. GleefulGary

    GleefulGary Cheesehead

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    I agree with your premise that we should give Aaron Jones all of the money!

    As we know, the best teams in football run the ball a lot in the 4th quarter.
     
  16. AmishMafia

    AmishMafia Cheesehead

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    Why read and think when I already have an opinion. Thought that is how it's done here.
     
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  17. tynimiller

    tynimiller Cheesehead

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    Again though, EVERY single player has a point where his value becomes worth the cost. I argued Blake Martinez was the same way...I mean even his most staunchest critics if he said I'll take $1M/Year to stay in Green Bay would know it is dumb not to get that ink to paper asap. Now granted that is an exaggeration but Dantes lays out very valid reasons, main to me is the diminishing value of RBs in the league being illustrated by what he outlines. IF Jones does a similar deal to (not naming it, make you read the post LOL) Gute and Co would have to be idiots NOT to heavily consider it....this coming from a guy that despises paying RBs big money! There is NOT a single RB in the league IMO worth that $9M or higher range...very few are worth $8M/year....
     
  18. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Taken in isolation, in the matter of extending rookie contract running backs, this is not a bad idea relative to a world of such bad ideas at the position, chiefly because of Jones' relatively light mileage through 3 season. Not previously mentioned is the fact that college mileage is also considered in the matter of shelf life. Jones' 729 college touches is neither light nor excessive. Compared to Jonathan Taylor, to take one example, his 968 college touches likely shaves a year off his pro carer relative Jones at the same starting point, assuming neither become one of those iron man exceptions which remains to be seen.

    After 3 knee sprains over his first 2 seasons, Jones trucked through 2019 without incident and upped his game, so that's a check mark in the plus column.

    However, these things are not taken in isolation. You can't bounce from one name to another and forget the previous one, a Clark extension for example. One thing I find a bit mysterious is the utter lack of discussion regarding extending Bakhtiari, also in a contract year like Clark and Jones.

    It's easy to talk about extensions with backloaded contracts that are 2020 cap-neutral, or even generate a little 2020 savings, but that comes home to roost as soon as year 2 of those contracts. For example, the big 4 free agents had a 2019 cap number in the aggregate of $23.4 mil. For 2020, it goes up to $48.5 mil.

    I'm going to bounce over to the salary cap thread and illustrate what the 2021 depth chart looks like for 2021 with the 30 guys currently under contract and the associated cap cost. That might help to illustrate the point.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
  19. ARPackFan

    ARPackFan P-A-N-I-C

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    The $52M in 2021 is based upon 30 players. If the remaining 23 needed for a complete roster are added in, that leaves $38 to be divided between any high round draft picks, veterans that earn more than the minimum, signing other free agents, and the following who will be free agents in 2021: David Bakhtiari, Corey Linsley, Lane Taylor, Kenny Clark, Kevin King, Allen Lazard, Aaron Jones, and Tim Boyle.

    Just signing Bakhtiari and Kenny Clark could cost between $25M and $30M. Is there anyone else in the list above the Packers should keep? I would pass on paying Jones more than $4M a season.
     
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  20. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    That's true, and yet many of the players that will be added to those 30 will be cheap rookie deal players. And as I mentioned, that's the number without them making any effort to add to it. For instance, if an OT from this class is ready to start in year 2, cutting Wagner recoups 4.25M. If a LB from this class is ready to start in year 2, cutting Kirksey recoups 6M. Dean Lowry can be released for 3.3M.

    If someone says 7-8M is too much for a RB because they're replaceable, I think that's fair.

    If someone says that a 7-8M contract is beyond the Packers' financial ability next offseason, they're wrong.
     
  21. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    Ok, here's the argument to let him walk:

    Comparables: You have to look pretty hard for a team that's recently extended a running back on a lucrative deal and has been happy about it. The Rams, Jets, Cardinals, and Falcons all regret their decisions to pay up to keep continuity in the backfield.

    Injury History: Jones missed the majority of 2015 (at UTEP) with an ankle ligament injury. Injuries limited him to 12 games in both of his first two seasons for the Packers. When durability is one of the bigger reasons why you don't want to pay backs, you don't like to see that in his history.

    Replacability: A quick look around the league reveals why the RB market is depressed-- there's more supply than demand. Productive backs are commonly found outside of the first round. If you set the minimum at 100 carries, of the top 20 RB's in the league in terms of YPC, only five were first round picks.

    Resources: The Packers aren't nearly as cap strapped as some people would make them out to be, but they don't and won't have a lot of excess room to work with for a couple more seasons after last off-season's spending spree. Obviously 7M spent on Jones would be 7M less than you can spend elsewhere.
     
  22. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    If Jones is your number one priority among players in a contract year, then it is doable.

    One is certainly entitled to change one's mind. It would be foolish not to in light of new information, and there has been plenty over the last month or so.

    What a person cannot do is stump for Jones in one moment, Clark the next, and Bakhtiari the next. Some might include King in that group. There might even be somebody who would favor extending Linsley in a backloaded deal and reduce his 2020 cap hit, though I have not seen that proposed nor would I suggest it.

    Regardless, any backloaded deal for any of these guys hits home in 2021, and you simply cannot accumulate all of them now, nor would you want to if you could. There's a draft and full season to assess possible cheap rookie deal replacements already in house.

    I would suggest picking one. Then if a mind change takes place, qualify that guy as the new #1 priority. And in the midst all this there are still free agent signing proposals being posted that would be meaningfully above the minimum guy they'd bump from the top 53.

    I won't be thinking about who should or should not be extended to the exclusion of the others until after the draft. We don't know what those guys are asking for at their line in the sand, but who gets drafted might provide indications as who are pricing themselves out.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
  23. Mondio

    Mondio Cheesehead

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    I like Jones, and I'd love to keep him around, but i'd need more convincing to think 8 million would be well spent at a RB position. 5, sure, 6 probably, 7?? getting nervous, 8? No thank you.
     
  24. felix145

    felix145 Cheesehead

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    Same. 6 is my limit. Just because he is also a threat as a receiver and improved as a blocker, but normally I'm a guy who says get the best out of a RB for 4 years and then draft the next one. Other positions are too important to spent your money on a replaceable position.
     
  25. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    I would be fine with the Packers signing Jones to a deal like the Chargers did with Ekeler. They shouldn't offer him more money though and definitely wait until after this season to make a move to have a chance to fairly evaluate the needs entering the 2021 offseason.

    While I agree with that statement unfortunately that's not possible with a hard salary cap in place.

    Lewis, at age 36 once this season starts, won't be around for another four or five years though.
     
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