Packers made an insulting offer to Aaron Jones before releasing him

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Jones
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Jones / David Berding/GettyImages

In 2021, Aaron Rodgers voiced his frustration about how the Green Bay Packers treated veteran players when they moved on. He believed many key players were "not given the respect on the way out."

Aaron Jones would fall into that category.

Last month, general manager Brian Gutekunst called Jones the "heartbeat" of the team and said his "anticipation" was that Jones would return for another season. Something changed, as Gutekunst agreed to a big-money deal with free agent Josh Jacobs to replace Jones, who the Packers released on Monday.

Jones was a star for the Packers, not just for his production on the field but also for his leadership and kindness off it.

The NFL is a tough business, and a recent report about Jones's departure highlights this.

Packers reportedly asked Aaron Jones to take significant pay cut before releasing him

Green Bay's decision to release Jones was financial. The Packers wanted to lower his cap hit for 2024, but the two sides couldn't reach an agreement.

Per The Athletic's Matt Schneidman and Dianna Russini, the Packers asked Jones to take a pay cut of at least 50 percent. Green Bay made its final offer last week, which Jones declined, and the Packers decided to move on.

It goes back to Rodgers's comments about how the Packers treat veterans on the way out. He referred to "core players to our foundation, our locker room, high-character guys." That describes Jones.

It's one thing to move in another direction and release Jones, but requesting a pay cut of 50 percent or more is disrespectful. Yes, it's a business, but it put Jones in an unfair position, especially a year after he did accept a $5 million pay cut.

Jones reminded everyone how important he was to the team over the final five games, rushing for 584 yards and three touchdowns.

In 2021, the Packers signed Jones to a four-year, $48 million contract with $13 million guaranteed. Three years into the deal, they released him to sign Jacobs to an almost-identical four-year, $48 million contract with $12.5 million guaranteed.

To Gutekunst's credit, he is willing to make difficult decisions fans won't like. He takes the emotion out of it and makes moves he believes will help the Packers.

But that approach has its drawbacks. It creates situations like this, where one of the Packers' all-time greats is shown no respect on the way out.

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