- Dolphins (+325) have emerged s early favorites to sign ex-Packers RB Aaron Jones
- Packers decided against using the franchise tag on Jones earlier this week
- 49ers, Cardinals, Jets, and Steelers among potential suitors
Earlier this week, we learned that the Green Bay Packers have decided against using the franchise tag on running back Aaron Jones. While ESPN’s Adam Schefter says the Packers will still try to come to terms on a new long-term deal with their star running back, Jones’ future with the franchise is now very much up in the air.
Oddsmakers seem to think Jones is more likely to leave Green Bay this offseason. PointsBet is already taking bets on where Jones will land as a free agent. Oddsmakers have installed the Miami Dolphins as early +325 favorites to sign the former Pro Bowler. The Packers have the third-best odds of keeping Jones in the NFC North.
The full list of potential landing spots for Jones is listed below:
- Miami Dolphins (+325)
- San Francisco 49ers (+375)
- Green Bay Packers (+500)
- Arizona Cardinals (+500)
- New York Jets (+500)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (+500)
- Seattle Seahawks (+800)
- Chicago Bears (+1100)
- Atlanta Falcons (+1700)
Jones’ Track Record
It’s a tough time to be a running back in the NFL. The days of running backs earning huge paydays seem to be a thing of the past. Some of the more noteworthy rushers to bank big-money deals in recent years include Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, and David Johnson. None of those players is still with the team with whom they signed those huge deals, however.
Jones Has Emerged as One of the Most Consistent Runners in the League Over the Past Couple Years
He exploded for 1,084 yards as the team’s full-time starter two seasons ago alongside a whopping 16 rushing touchdowns. Jones followed that up with a career-high 1,104 rushing yards in just 14 games a season ago, though he only found the end zone nine times.
Jones struggled a bit with injuries last season, which led to more opportunities for the likes of Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon in the backfield. With the team having solid depth at the position, it’s no real surprise that Green Bay decided against offering Jones the franchise tender.
While he could still stay in Green Bay, oddsmakers clearly think he’s more likely to leave for greener pastures.
Dolphins, 49ers Make Sense
Miami makes for a logical landing spot. The Miami Dolphins surprisingly won 10 games a season ago, and the front office is expected to be aggressive this offseason in an attempt to surround Tua Tagovailoa with as much talent as possible. Myles Gaskin showed some flashes last season, but he was only able to play in 10 games. Gaskin also averaged a pedestrian 4.1 yards per carry, and found himself falling out of favor as the season progressed.
Backups Salvin Ahmed, Matt Breida, and DeAndre Washington all failed to establish themselves as clear-cut starting options, which means Miami will almost surely seek an upgrade this offseason. Jones will instantly become the best running back on the free-agent market, which makes Miami a very intriguing destination.
The Niners were crushed by injuries last season, and the team’s stable of running backs was no exception. Jeff Wilson led the team in rushing with just 600 yards as he, Raheem Mostert, Jerick McKinnon, and JaMycal Hasty all struggled to stay healthy. McKinnon was the only player to log more than 12 games last season. San Francisco is just a year removed from a Super Bowl appearance, and signing a player of Jones’ caliber would certainly provide some stability to the team’s backfield.
The Cardinals are another up-and-coming team that makes sense as a potential suitor for Jones. The Jets may be reluctant to pay for another big-name running back after Bell was such a massive letdown just a couple of years ago, while the Steelers could be in the market for a replacement should James Conner leave this offseason.
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