Packers: Reasons for and against franchise-tagging Aaron Jones

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Jones (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Jones (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers have a big decision to make in the next couple of days.

Should they franchise tag Aaron Jones? GM Brian Gutekunst said they’d be open to doing so if it was in the best interest of the team.

The deadline to use the franchise tag is on Tuesday. Time is running out to make a big decision. If Jones isn’t franchise-tagged, he’ll be free to sign elsewhere when free agency begins in a couple of weeks.

With that in mind, let’s look at reasons for and against franchise-tagging Jones.

Reasons for

When it comes to winning the Super Bowl, the Packers should have a sense of urgency. This team has reached the NFC Championship Game two years in a row but not quite had enough to go all the way.

Aaron Rodgers is nearing the final years of his career, so much so that the Packers drafted his potential successor, so the time to win is now.

If the Packers lose Jones, there is close to zero chance they will find a running back who will make the same kind of impact in 2021. It would take a home-run draft pick because they won’t find a better running back in free agency.

Can the Packers afford to franchise tag Jones?

Well, it would take some work to the salary cap, which they need to do anyway to get under the cap before the new league year begins. But it won’t be as expensive as many perhaps expected. According to Over The Cap’s projections, the franchise tag for running backs will come in around $8 million, which is surprisingly affordable for a player as talented as Jones.

A long-term deal would be ideal for both sides, but if that’s looking unlikely before the deadline, using the franchise tag should be an option. Jones is that important to the offense.

Can the team afford it? Yes they can.

Reasons against

First of all, the Packers used a second-round pick on AJ Dillon last offseason. They had to have this year’s free agency in mind. If Dillon isn’t set to be the next starter, why draft a running back so high?

While the $8 million projected franchise tag is lower than it may have been in other years, that’s still a big cap hit when the Packers have limited space. It could mean they have to release a player or two to make it work, or lose out on other free agents they could’ve signed.

Running back is one of the easier positions to find production at. With Dillon ready to go as the featured back, the Packers could save themselves cap room by drafting a RB on Day 3 to complement Dillon in the backfield.

Jones is a great player but with limited cap room, a case can be made for signing a cornerback or defensive tackle and then drafting a running back late.