Green Bay Packers restructure running back Aaron Jones' contract to get salary cap relief
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers’ easiest offseason decision was whether to restructure running back Aaron Jones’ contract to account for his $20 million salary cap number.
It was more a matter of whether Jones would agree to it.
The Packers, desperate for salary cap room and hedging their bets on a 29-year-old running back, demanded a $5 million salary cut from $16 million to $11 million and in turn converted $8.52 million of Jones’ salary into a guaranteed signing bonus, according to reports and sources with access to NFL salary information.
Jones could have rejected the pay cut and probably been released into the open market, but agent Drew Rosenhaus recognized that the market for older running backs isn’t very good and Jones was better off sticking with the Packers.
As a result of the move, the Packers cleared around $12 million off their cap and are now roughly $8 million over.
The Packers had added voidable years to the contract when it was restructured for cap purposes in 2022, so they were able to to spread the new converted signing bonus over five years, thus reducing the cap hit of the $8.52 million signing bonus to $1.7 million in 2023.
Jones’ cash payout this year is a $1.58 million base salary, the $8.52 million signiing bonus, a per game roster bonus of a maximum of $400,000 and a workout bonus of $500,000.
ESPN and NFL Network were the first to report the pay cut.
The Packers were around $20 million over the salary cap to start the off-season and so regardless of the status of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, they were going to have to restructure several contracts to get in line with the spending limit.
Jones produced his third 1,000-yard rushing season in the past four years, totaling 1,121 yards and two touchdowns on 213 carries. In addition, he caught 59 passes for 395 yards and five touchdowns.
His 1,516 yards from scrimmage ranked ninth in the NFL and his 5.3-yard average ranked first among running backs with at least 150 carries.
The only downside to Jones’ season were his five fumbles, including a crucial loss in the season-finale defeat to the Detroit Lions.
Jones signed a four-year, $48 million contract on March 14, 2021. It paid him a $13 million signing bonus and features an $11.1 million base salary next season, which was not changed as a result of the restructure.
If the Packers cut Jones after the 2023 season, he will count $12 million against the cap.
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