3 trades the Packers need to make to start building for the future

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers
Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
4 of 4

3. Packers could trade Aaron Jones for draft capital and a running back

Disclaimer: this would have been David Bakhtiari, Yosh Nijman, or AJ Dillon had it not been for Bakhtiari's and Aaron Jones's injuries.

An Aaron Jones trade would realistically only be in the conversation if Green Bay fails to collect a win over the next three games, presumably all with Jones healthy.

A fan favorite in Green Bay and a leader in the Packers' locker room, trading Jones would be a heart-wrenching decision for the team. He is one of three players in NFL history to register at least 5,000 rushing yards, 60 scrimmage touchdowns, and average over 5.0 yards per carry in their first six seasons (2017-22).

Rankings third in team history in rushing yards (5,343) and fourth in rushing touchdowns (44), Jones's departure would be a massive blow for the Packers offense and their fanbase.

But, as they say, "the NFL is a business."

While dealing with a hamstring injury, Jones has only registered 14 rushing attempts in 2023. Meanwhile, the backups have looked unspectacular in his absence, drawing concerns about the future of AJ Dillon.

Teams eyeing a running back upgrade to solidify a playoff push could take advantage of a lower price on Jones due to the injury concerns.

The Ravens again lost running back J.K. Dobbins to season-ending injury, and Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, and Melvin Gordon certainly aren't blowing anybody away. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be other teams to keep an eye on.

In the case of the Steelers, there were large expectations going into the season, and similar to Green Bay, the offense has mostly underperformed. With running back Najee Harris approaching two years of struggling to get back on track to his rookie level of play, the team has mixed in more Jaylen Warren in 2023.

Harris could also be on the trade block heading into the deadline. The former Alabama star and rookie sensation could benefit from a change of scenery and a new system.

As fans are calling for offensive coordinator Matt Canada's job, the team may look to add a dynamic weapon like Jones. Because, after all, they currently sit atop the AFC North at 3-2, and adding Jones could keep them firmly in contention.

Similar is true for the Buccaneers, who sit atop the NFC South at 3-1. While quarterback Baker Mayfield has been a pleasant surprise, the team currently averages three yards per carry and has only amassed 348 rushing yards, the lowest in the NFL.

This comes after last season when Tampa Bay finished as one of the worst at running the ball, averaging 3.4 yards per carry as a team.

Buccaneers running back Rachaad White offers a similar play style as Aaron Jones, contributing as a runner and pass catcher. But outside of a strong Week 2 performance against a bottom-ranked Bears defense, White has been mostly ineffective.

The Packers could swing a package deal where White comes to Green Bay in the trade, and if not, rookie backup Sean Tucker. Jones is 28 and under contract for 2024, so he has appeal beyond just this season if the team moves off White.

Jones's value before this season was likely a second-round and mid-round pick. As the running back market has taken a hit and injuries have hampered production, Jones's value certainly hasn't risen since the season began.

Trade target: 3rd round pick + #2 running back

Swing big: Aaron Jones + draft pick, receive Steelers running back Najee Harris + guard James Daniels

More Packers news and analysis