Packers fans are celebrating the team’s re-signing of Aaron Jones, but the franchise would have been better off making any of these three moves.
Aaron Jones isn’t a bad football player, but the Packers front office should know better than to commit big-money to veteran running backs in the modern NFL. Committing $48 million to the 26-year-old running back over the next four seasons is going to make it very difficult for Green Bay to construct a roster capable of winning a Super Bowl.
It’s likely that Jones will rack up enough yards and touchdowns over the next few seasons to allow the Packers’ front office to deem the deal a success. That’s too narrow a view of the transaction. Instead, the Jones signing should be viewed in terms of its opportunity cost.
In other words, Packers fans should be concerned with what signings they couldn’t make as a result of their running back’s big deal. The following three deals are great examples of what Green Bay should have done instead.
3. Re-sign Corey Linsley
Linsley signed with the Chargers on a five-year deal with an annual average value of $12.5 million per season. It’s painfully obvious that the Packers chose Jones over retaining their All-Pro center.
Even if Linsley isn’t actually the best center in football, the Packers should have chosen to keep him in the fold. He’s critical to the team’s ability to give Aaron Rodgers a clean pocket whenever he drops back to pass. Add in Linsley’s ability to open holes for the run game and it’s easy to understand why he’s a perennial Pro Bowler.
It will be particularly interesting to see how his departure hinders Jones’ ability to produce yards on interior runs in 2021 and beyond. The Packers now need to find a high-quality replacement for Linsley via the draft or an unheralded free agent.