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Inbox: They like the stock

The Packers have a good one in Aaron Jones…and they know it

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QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Aaron Jones and TE Robert Tonyan

Bret from Hertel, WI

Welcome Back Wes! Happy Monday! What was the biggest story while you were on well-deserved break?

My son used the big-boy toilet.

Mike from Algoma, WI

Welcome back Wes! Happy Monday! Seems like a nice way to start the w33k.

Yes, we are back. I hope you missed me as much as I missed all of you. So anything happen while I was gone?

Clint from New Berlin, WI

So....how many Casey Hayward questions have you gotten?

Quite a few until, let's see, around 3:15 p.m. CT or so on Sunday.

Phillip from Corona, CA

Welcome back Wes. Hope you had a great time off. Here we go with Aaron. Yay! Good luck on everything else for the next two weeks.

This the best news that's ever been broken during Spoff-cation. Aaron Jones is not only a Pro Bowl running back, but he's also one of the good guys. While nothing is official until it's official, I was thrilled for both Aaron and his family when the news broke on Sunday. And if we didn't already know how much Jones means to the Packers' locker room, did you see that outpouring of support from Jones' teammates over the last 24 hours? That response says it all. The Packers have a good one in Aaron Jones…and they know it.

Joseph from Ellsworth, WI

I recently learned Aaron Jones joined Jim Brown and Gale Sayers as the only players with at least 4,000 scrimmage yards and 40 TDs in their first four seasons. He rushed for 5.5 yards per carry last season and is staying at Green Bay below his market value. Awesome.

Jones has 4,421 total yards and 43 touchdowns…on just 782 career touches. With that much tread left on the tire, there's reason to believe Jones' best days are still ahead of him. It's a sound investment.

Chun from El Monte, CA

Love the fact we re-signed Jones; he is worth every penny. He was used sparingly in the first few seasons and has plenty of juice left in that tank. Todd Gurley and Le'Veon Bell were bell cows before they got the big contract and you see the drop in production. Jones will continue to see bulk of the carries but has a running mate the last few years in Jamaal Williams and now in AJ Dillon. Hopefully we can squeeze out some money to sign veterans such Marvin Jones, Jason Verett and Cordarrelle Patterson and draft for depth.

And it's not just what Jones does on the field. It's also how opposing defenses must game plan for him with the multitude of ways Matt LaFleur has utilized his talents the past two seasons.

Nick from Gresham, WI

Sorry if this has already been stated, but with the rumors around TY Hilton, I can't help myself...can we please put all the chatter about needing another WR to bed already. We have two TEs (Jace Sternberger and Josiah Deguara) coming back, Devin Funchess getting added to the mix, and just re-signed Aaron Jones, the offense is fine, let's give the WR thing a rest already. I'd be thrilled with drafting OL, DL, and CB only.

Everyone and their second cousin had an opinion of the Packers' receivers (and offense) going into last season…and then Green Bay had the highest-scoring outfit in the league. Right on cue, all these pundits shifted to forming their opinions of what the Packers could or couldn't do this offseason, and what they needed in free agency. Now I'm going to let you in on a little secret – the Packers' opinion of their roster is the only one that matters and you know what? They like the stock. And with Jones back, this offense has more than enough weapons to dominate again in 2021. Oh, and the draft is still like 45 days away.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

With the signing of Jones how important is it that AJ Dillon become the back that he was drafted to be, especially considering Jones needs to stay fresh during the season?

Dillon's development is critical for the Packers' long-term success. If we've learned anything during the first two seasons under LaFleur, it's that this is not a one-back offense. There's room for two or even three. Dillon has unique gifts that complement Jones' skillset perfectly.

Joel from Sand Springs, OK

Insiders, I'm sure the Inbox is buzzing with the news of Aaron Jones getting extended, which is certainly good news. But by my accounting we were barely under the cap and I don't see how this move doesn't put us back over. Can you give us an idea of where things sit based on the knowledge at hand?

The Packers are still juggling a few things but we should have a good feel for where they stand soon enough. One way or another, they'll be under the cap at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Tom from Halifax, Canada

Do you think the Week 1 starting center is currently on the roster? If so, who do you think it is?

Jones' reported extension makes it a little trickier to keep Corey Linsley but Brian Gutekunst was quick to point out the Packers would never shut the door on a player of Linsley's caliber. If Linsley isn't back, however, I think Lucas Patrick could slide into that role if Green Bay chooses to A) keep Elgton Jenkins at his natural position or B) push him out to left tackle while David Bakhtiari recovers. So they have options. On another note, Jones and Corey Linsley were incredible finds for the Packers in the fifth round. As much as it would hurt if Linsley should leave in free agency, these are good problems to have for an NFL team.

Evan from Durango, CO

Thrilled to have Jones back, but my first thought upon seeing the news was "I hope JWill gets a chance to start for someone." It would seem there is little chance we bring him back, so I just want to say thank you for being one of my favorite Packers. His smile, laughter, infectious energy, and of course dancing will be missed. I'm going to root for him no matter who he plays for next year.

Again, I don't want to speculate too much on what's going to happen with any of the Packers' free agents but Jamaal Williams deserves a lot of credit for the way he conducted himself the last four years in Green Bay. Williams never caused any problems in the locker room, was dependable on the field (652 touches without a fumble) and may be the most fundamentally sound running back I've covered. I still believe he can be a 1,000-yard rusher in this league.

John from Livermore, CA

Why not use franchise tag on running back Aaron Jones? What does the team gain by passing on this option?

One quick editor's note here, John submitted this before all the news broke Sunday but I still wanted to address this question. As Gutekunst mentioned two weeks ago, the franchise tag is a tool for teams to use – but it's not always the best option when negotiating with a player on a long-term deal because it can lead to resentment from the player since it restricts their market. Historically, the Packers haven't needed that safety net. They trust their process and get deals done that work for both sides.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers T David Bakhtiari from his Pro Bowl season.

James from Appleton, WI

Well, you can't accuse the Packers of Aaron on the side of caution.

Be honest, James. On a scale of 1-10, how proud of yourself were you for that one?

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

Maybe this is better to ask when the free agency and contract negotiation dust has settled, but I'm just curious to know, of the contracts that were re-worked to lower cap hits, how many of those included incentive-based pay? And of those, which ones were designated as 'likely to be earned'? It's my understanding LTBE incentives, if reached, would count against this year's cap. Is it correct they are also immediately counted against the cap this year, too? Thanks.

Like you said, we won't know all that until the contracts are filed with the NFLPA but likely to be earned (and unlikely to be earned) language could very well be written into some of those deals. LTBE means the player accomplished that feat in the previous season (e.g. Mike Spofford rushing for 1,000 yards in 2020). Now if Spoff doesn't accomplish that again in 2021, then the Packers would be credited the difference towards the 2022 cap. Likewise, if Spoff hits an ULTBE incentive (let's say 10 sacks after he only had five in 2020), then the difference would count towards next year's cap.

Chadro from Janesville, WI

Welcome back Wes. Did we just win free agency? "In Russ we trust"

What can I say? The man is a wizard. I just hope the card-carrying members of the "Cut everyone!" and "We didn't go all-in!" crowds remember this weekend.

Rick from Rhinelander, WI

Will the fans be allowed back into Packers stadium in 2021?

It's no longer a question of whether there will be fans inside Lambeau Field next season – it's how many will there be? That will be decided in the months to come. Hopefully, the vaccine distribution goes well and Sundays will be closer to normal this fall. But it's on all of us to make that happen.

Randy from Clarksville, TN

I hate this upcoming week! I expect we will see friends leave and possibly new faces join our ranks. I hope we don't lose anyone, but business will tell us otherwise. Being a fan is sometimes harder than being a team member. Thanks to all Packers, who will be leaving, who played their hearts out for the Green and Gold! We will miss you and good luck wherever you end up. Go Pack!

You feel good for the people. Like Linsley, for example, deserves every single cent coming his way in the coming days. It just sucks because every year there are good people who leave 1265 Lombardi Ave. and you don't know when you'll see them again. It can be players, coaches, personnel people or even my former Gameday Program associate Lexi Kinnard.

George from North Mankato, MN

Welcome back Wes! Where should we start...... Jones deal or Brees retirement?

I was sort of surprised at how many of these submissions I received Sunday. Was anyone really that surprised to see Drew Brees retire? Didn't we kind of already know that?

Richard from Madison, WI

My strongest memory of Drew Brees was when he threw something like 80 passes when playing for Purdue vs. the Badgers. The Badgers won, but not easily, and I remember thinking at the time that this guy had quite a future ahead of him in the NFL. So it proved to be! What's your favorite memory of him, Wes?

For me, it's the sight of Brees lifting the Lombardi Trophy in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Brees gave the City of New Orleans so much hope and inspiration during what was such a devastating time for so many. As a player, I'll never forget how fast he could deliver the football. He was like a cheat code, man. Pass-rushers just couldn't get to him. Brees was so confident in his abilities and accurate with his throws, and that swagger permeated through the Saints' organization for 15 years.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers WR Allen Lazard from the 2020 season.

Blake from Marion, IA

is there a sCenario thAt you could See playing out whEre guteY brings in a veteran cornerback to Help out? Are You aWare of of Any Really gooD defensive backs that may be available? Go Pack Go!

A for effort, Blake.

Vince from Auburn, WA

Did the Chargers just grant the Packers' wish for a solid, veteran cornerback to pair with Jaire Alexander? I think Casey Hayward's availability could be huge for the Packers this season. Can you imagine what Jerry Gray could do with that tandem?

Speaking of good dudes who left Green Bay…I don't know what's next for Casey but I was shocked to see the Chargers cut him. Hayward had one pick last year, OK, but the guy has been one of the best at his position for the past five year. Sure, he's 31 but it seems like an awfully quick pull of the world-class pitcher to this Monday Morning GM.

Ryan from Ripon, WI

How is a 17th game going to work? I know it's usually a division thing.

I could explain it again, but Mark Murphy does such a good job of it here why waste the extra column inches, ya know?

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Hi Wes, it looks like Aaron Jones is going to sign, but we can't sign everyone. I know Spoff is good contributor, but will he accept a contract restructure? Do you think we could get someone talented in the upcoming draft instead? If he signs with another team, will we get a compensatory draft pick? Spoff and you are the only ones that know how II works. Are you worried if he goes to another team, then they'll understand our scheme? Or are understanding and stopping two very different things?

I'm happy to report that just hours before he was scheduled to start vacation, Spoff agreed to convert a portion of his 2021 salary into a signing bonus that can prorated across the rest of his lifetime contract.

Peter from Ashland, WI

Welcome back, Wes! So when do the "Run It Back" T-shirts come out? Go Pack Go!!!

Someone needs to get on that.

Tyler from Green Bay, WI

If that doesn't shut the haters up...

Oh, they'll latch onto something else soon enough.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Well, I bet THAT blew up a lot of those free agent trackers. How long is Mike away?

We have two full weeks for Packers news to break like a raging river through a dilapidated dam. Make it a great week, everybody.

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