3 Packers cut candidates who won't be back in 2024 (and 2 who will)

Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
3 of 3

Will return: Aaron Jones

In the first half of the season, it seemed inevitable Aaron Jones' time in Green Bay was nearing an end. The fear was he had suffered a significant injury in the win over the Los Angeles Chargers, but the former Pro Bowler only missed three games with a sprained MCL.

The best was yet to come. Jones rushed for over 100 yards in five straight games, including two postseason contests. In that stretch, he put up 653 total yards and three touchdowns. Along with his dominant play on the field, Jones's leadership was crucial for this young Packers team.

Brian Gutekunst indicated that Jones will return in 2024. His $17 million cap hit is an issue, but he is too important to this team.

Will return: Preston Smith

This one could go either way, but Preston Smith's excellent season could ensure he sticks around for another year. Smith has a cap hit of $16.51 million in 2024. It rises to $17.51 million and $18.21 million in the following seasons.

However, Green Bay would only save $2.52 million by moving on this offseason. The Packers may prefer to keep Smith for one more year and then release him in 2025 when they would create $7.63 million in cap space.

Smith made eight sacks, 21 quarterback hits, and two forced fumbles this season. He is a perfect fit for the new defensive system under Jeff Hafley. With the Packers' Super Bowl window open in 2024, keeping Smith for another year makes sense, especially with Kingsley Enagbare likely out for most of the season.

More Packers news and analysis