Finding a way to afford re-signing him is another question entirely, especially with a reduced salary cap having a major impact this offseason.
Jones is set to hit free agency as one of the best running backs in the NFL. And there’s no doubt the Packers are better when Jones is on the field.
If a deal isn’t agreed between the team and Jones in the near future, one option would be to use the franchise tag, something we don’t often see in Green Bay. General manager Brian Gutekunst wouldn’t rule it out when speaking to reporters on Tuesday.
“We certainly could,” Gutekunst said about the possibility of using the franchise tag on Jones, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.
Gutekunst added he would be willing to make the move if it’s in the “best interest of the Packers”.
While Gutekunst didn’t give a whole lot away, he also didn’t dismiss the idea of using the franchise tag. And considering that the Packers reportedly made multiple offers to Jones during the season, I believe him when he says that.
Making it work financially would be another challenge, of course.
Over The Cap projects that the franchise tag for running backs will be just over $11 million. That would be another big cap hit for the Packers, who are already needing to find ways to create more room before the new league year.
Using the franchise tag would give the Packers extra time to work on a long-term deal with Jones, or even trade him before then. But working on a multi-year contract over the summer wouldn’t help the cap situation in the short term when it comes to signing free agents.
The Packers have another week to make a decision on the franchise tag. According to Gutekunst, it’s possible.