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Packers decline Datone Jones' 5th-year option, per report

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The team's decision to decline Datone Jones' fifth-year option means the last three first-round picks have had their option declined.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers and general manager Ted Thompson hit on a lot of players during the 2013 NFL Draft. However, the first-round pick from that class, defensive end/outside linebacker Datone Jones, has not yet lived up to expectations. As such, the team declined Jones' fifth-year option, according to a report by ESPN's Rob Demovsky.

The move doesn't necessarily necessarily mean that the Packers have given up on Jones, but they have signaled that he needs to improve in order to remain with the team past this season. The team has declined the fifth-year option for each of the two first-round picks that preceded him, offensive tackle Derek Sherrod and outside linebacker Nick Perry. Perry, of course, re-signed with the team earlier this offseason, so Jones may indeed stick in Green Bay past 2016.

Though Jones hasn't made much of an impact through three seasons, he could become a larger piece of the defense in 2016 as he transitions to "elephant" linebacker position, the same spot played by Julius Peppers. Jones played most of his snaps at outside linebacker during the second half of 2015, and head coach Mike McCarthy has indicated that the team plans to use him more there moving forward.

Though the Packers haven't yet picked up a fifth-year option for a first-round pick, that trend probably stops next offseason. At that time, 2014 first-rounder Ha Ha Clinton-Dix becomes eligible for the team to exercise his option. Clinton-Dix has become the Packers' best safety and one of their most valuable defenders, leading the team with 100 tackles in 2015.

In three years, Jones has recorded 38 tackles, eight sacks, one interception and a fumble recovery. Jones has played in 44 games, starting three in 2014.

Jason B. Hirschhorn is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and covers the NFL for Sports on Earth and SB Nation. He also serves as the senior writer and editor for Acme Packing Company, a Green Bay Packers blog.