Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com.
We'll start with ESPN's Bill Barnwell looking at NFL running backs who could be in line for a big payday in 2020. The Packers' Aaron Jones is part of an outstanding group of running backs who were drafted in 2017 and become eligible for extensions next offseason. But given the 2019 struggles of virtually every running back who received a long-term deal, Barnwell writes that teams are likely to be reluctant to spend big at that position.
Writing about Jones, Barnwell sees the potential for difficult negotiations and the kind of contract standoff the Chargers encountered with Melvin Gordon and the Steelers with Le'Veon Bell:
Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
2020 status: Under contract ($785,487 cap hit)
The most efficient running back in football might be Jones, whose 61% success rate leads all backs. I covered the difference Jones makes on the Packers offense in my Monday column; in short, the Packers are the best offense in football with Jones on the field and something closer to the 2019 Giants with Jamaal Williams at running back. Over his past 16 completed starts, Jones has carried the ball 215 times for 1,043 yards and a staggering 17 rushing touchdowns, throwing in 54 catches for 491 yards and four more scores.
He has done all this while the Packers have refused to even use him as an every-down back for most of the past two years, which leads to a fascinating negotiation. Jones looks like one of the best running backs in football when he's on the field. There will certainly be teams that want to pay him like a franchise back if he hits free agency. The disconnect between his success and his usage rate makes it difficult to judge what happens next. If any of these situations has a chance to turn into the next Bell or Gordon standoff, it's this one. With that in mind, the Packers seem likely to let Jones play out the final year of his rookie deal in 2020.
You can read Barnwell's entire piece on the 2017 draft running backs here:
Friends and family: Packers vs. 49ers will feature a complex coaching reunion:
Former Packers coach Mike Holmgren produced a coaching tree similar to the Mike Shanahan tree that produced Matt LaFleur:
Another Bosa brother awaits David Bakhtiari:
The 49ers suddenly are looking much healthier:
While the Packers' injury report is spotless, the 49ers' got a little better:
This is a must-listen: Tom Silverstein and Jim Owczarski set the table for Sunday night's showdown:
Good insights from Howard Cosell's nephew:
This would be a good time for the Packers to prove they are a complete team, writes Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal:
The 49ers aren't backing down in the face of their difficult remaining schedule:
Former Cowboys executive Gil Brandt of NFL.com ranks the strength of the NFL divisions and puts the NFC North in second place, with this analysis:
2) NFC North
The gloom-and-doom vibe that enshrouded Green Bay during the final months of the Mike McCarthy era in 2018 is gone. Aaron Rodgers has clearly bought into the more balanced approach of McCarthy's replacement, Matt LaFleur, which has resulted in running back Aaron Jones scoring 14 combined touchdowns through the 8-2 Packers' first 10 games. Vikings QB Kirk Cousins is enjoying an equally prosperous 2019; after a rough start, Cousins is 6-1 with an 18:1 TD-to-INT ratio in his last seven games, helping push Minnesota to an 8-3 record. And, unlike in other divisions, the bottom two teams (4-6 Chicago and 3-6-1 Detroit) in the NFC North are capable of beating anyone in the league when clicking. Unfortunately for both the Bears and Lions, their fate probably doesn't include the playoffs.
You can find out which divisions ranks No. 1 here:
Aaron Rodgers has thrown 84 passes on free plays since 2006:
Former Packers defensive back Damarious Randall is getting death threats:
And finally: Packers receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling doing big things off the field:
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt