Aaron Jones' time in Green Bay isn't officially over, but his chances of returning to the Packers have gotten slimmer after Tuesday's franchise tag deadline passed.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Packers did not use their tag on the running back before the deadline, meaning Jones' lone chance of returning to Green Bay is with a new deal signed before free agency opens with the start of the new league year next week.
That might make things difficult.
Green Bay is currently $11.4 million over a projected salary cap of $180.5 million, per Over The Cap, and while a higher actual salary cap might ease that burden a bit, it's still far from the space necessary to secure Jones to a deal that fits his market value. A year after opting to draft a quarterback of the future instead of supplying Aaron Rodgers with an offensive weapon, the Packers very well could be watching another walk in a week's time.
Jones posted consecutive 1,000-plus-yard rushing seasons in 2019 and 2020, rushing for 25 touchdowns over that span. He blossomed in Matt LaFleur's offense after former coach Mike McCarthy frustrated football fans everywhere by failing to properly utilize him, but his production in the last two seasons should net him a lavish new deal. It just might not come in Green Bay.
With the start of free agency very close, the Packers have little time to waste if they want to retain their best back.