Packers tailback Aaron Jones had by far his best season in 2019, but this may be his final year with the team because Jones can become a free agent after this campaign. Here are Jones’ odds at Mybookie to lead the NFL in rushing yards in the 2020 regular season as well as his over/under yardage total.
Jones was a fifth-round pick out of UTEP by the Packers in 2017. Jones has three of the school’s 10 longest rushing plays, including the record 91-yarder from his junior season. His 240 career points scored are 4th all time for the Miners and 2nd among non-kickers. He holds the record for most rushing yards in a career (4,114), season (1,773; also fifth his second year) and career yards per game (117.5).
Jones finished his rookie season with 448 rushing yards (second on the team to fellow rookie Jamaal Williams, ninth among NFL rookies), a team-leading four rushing touchdowns, nine receptions, and 22 receiving yards. He was suspended the first two games of the 2018 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Overall, he finished with 728 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns, 26 receptions, 206 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown. Jones ranked No. 1 in the league in yards per carry (5.47) in 2018, the first Packer to lead the league in the category since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978.
Last year, Jones finished with totals of 1,084 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns to go along with 49 receptions for 474 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns. He tied for the NFL lead in rushing TDs (16) in 2019, the second most in team history behind only Jim Taylor (19 in 1962), and was tied for the league lead with 19 total TDs, which tied for the second most in franchise annals behind only RB Ahman Green (20 in 2003). Including playoffs, Jones posted a team-record 23 TDs last season, topping Green’s single-season franchise high of 22 TDs in 2003.
Jones is one of five running backs in NFL history to post 2,000-plus rushing yards and 25-plus rushing TDs with an average of 5-plus yards per carry in their first three seasons (Paul Lowe, Gale Sayers, Jim Brown, Larry Johnson). He is one of only two active NFL running backs (Browns RB Nick Chubb) with 450-plus career rushing attempts and an average of 5-plus yards per carry (5.02 average on 450 attempts). Jones’ career average of 5.02 yards per carry ranks No. 1 in team history among players with 400-plus attempts.
Jones was the engine to the Packers’ offense last year. He had 57 percent of the carries and he also netted 43 percent of Green Bay’s rushing and receiving touchdowns. Jones was named team MVP. In 2019, only two players had at least 1,000 rushing yards, 15 TDs and 400 receiving yards: Jones and Christian McCaffrey.
Jones will make just $2.19 million this year, the final season of his rookie deal. Jones’ agent, Chris Cabott, confirmed “there have been conversations” regarding a long-term extension with the Packers. Jones admitted he “would love to be a lifelong Packer” but isn’t sure it’s plausible. The Packers haven’t given a second contract to a running back they drafted since James Starks, a sixth-round pick in 2010, and most recently allowed Eddie Lacy to walk after rushing for 1,000 yards in 2016.
Green Bay seems likely to move on from Jones after this season considering the team used a second-round pick on Boston College running back AJ Dillon. During his three seasons at Boston College, Dillon racked up 4,618 yards from scrimmage and 40 total touchdowns.
Jones said that Dillon’s arrival is just going to push him to play harder in 2020.
“I know it’s the NFL. They’re bringing in guys every day to compete so I mean it’s just gonna raise my game and I’m excited to have him there and start working with him, teaching him the playbook and everything,” Jones said.
Green Bay is a 3-point road underdog for Week 1 at Minnesota.