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Packers expected to sign ex-Raiders RB Josh Jacobs, release Aaron Jones

Green Bay made a surprise backfield swap early in free agency.

The Packers are expected to sign running back Josh Jacobs to a four-year, $48 million contract, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported on Monday, per sources informed of the situation. The deal includes a $12.5 million signing bonus and Jacobs will earn $14.8 million in Year 1, per Pelissero.

Adding Jacobs comes with collateral damage in Green Bay.

The Packers will release veteran Aaron Jones, per Rapoport and Pelissero. The team has since announced his release.

Jones spent seven years in Green Bay, compiling three 1,000-plus-yard seasons. He was a dynamic dual-threat player, and when healthy, he made the Green Bay offense exponentially more dynamic. The 29-year-old helped spearhead the Packers' playoff run down the stretch in 2023.

However, he was set to have a $17.575 million cap hit in 2024 and was coming off an injury-plagued season during which he missed six games. Last offseason, he took a pay cut to remain in Green Bay. Sides reportedly discussed a new deal this year but couldn't come to an agreement.

With Jacobs coming to town, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst decided it was time to move on from Jones.

Jacobs led the NFL in rush yards (1,653) and scrimmage yards (2,053) in 2022 and was named a first-team All-Pro. In 2023, he missed four games, generating 805 rushing yards and 1,101 scrimmage yards. Jacobs' 3.5 yards per carry last season marked a career-low.

The Packers are counting on a bounce-back campaign from the former first-round pick after moving on from Jones.

When healthy, Jacobs is a gashing runner who can turn a 3-yard gain into 8-yards with one cut. He's also an underrated pass-catcher out of the backfield. Jacobs is one of four players with 50-plus rush YPG and 20-plus rec YPG each of the last three seasons (others: Jones, Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara).

Owning the ability to find creases and run through arm tackles, Jacobs thrives between the tackles. Since he entered the NFL in 2019, Jacobs has led the NFL with 2,791 rush yards between the tackles. However, his year-to-year rollercoaster likely curtailed some interest in the market.

Last season, Jordan Love and the Packers' offense ran much more efficiently when Jones was healthy and gashing. Green Bay needs Jacobs to provide the same type of presence.

Swapping Jacobs in for Jones offers similar upside traits for the Packers' offense. The front office likely saw a path to getting younger and less expensive at the position while retaining a dual-threat workhorse. Green Bay remains shallow in the backfield after Jones' release, with AJ Dillon currently a free agent.

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