How Green Bay re-signing Aaron Jones impacts 2021 NFL Draft

Aaron Jones re-signs with Packers

Don’t tell the Green Bay Packers that running backs don’t matter.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Sunday that the Packers and running back Aaron Jones agreed to a four-year, $48 million extension, taking Jones off the free-agent market and locking him in as Green Bay’s lead back for the foreseeable future.

This marks the second significant investment the Packers have made in the running back position over the last 12 months. Green Bay drafted former Boston College star, A.J. Dillon, in the second round of last April’s 2020 NFL draft.

Jones is coming off back-to-back productive seasons for the Packers in which he’s run for a combined 2,188 yards and 25 touchdowns. He’s added five touchdowns as a receiver during that span as well.

Jones’ new contract directly impacts the outlook for Dillon in 2021. His strong finish to the season had many analysts predicting he’d take over as the lead back with the assumed departure of Jones as a free agent. That won’t be the case now, as Dillon appears headed for a short-yardage and change-of-pace/thunder role in the offense.

Jones’ return also all but eliminates the Packers as a team in the running back market in the 2021 draft. Had Jones left in free agency, Green Bay would’ve needed to add at least one more running back to the roster as depth behind Dillon. Remember: Jamaal Williams is scheduled for free agency too.

Is it possible GM Brian Gutekunst grabs a running back in the sixth or seventh round? It’s conceivable, of course. But with Jones getting a sizable new contract and a recent second-round pick invested in Dillon, it’d be a surprise if Green Bay spends any more assets on the position in April.

Bryan Perez

Bryan is the founder of Pro Football Draft. His work has been featured on NBC Sports and USA Today. Former CFL scout.

Follow him on Twitter: @BryanPerezNFL