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Cheese Curds, 2/19: How will Brian Gutekunst approach Aaron Jones in the long term?

There is tremendous uncertainty around Aaron Jones — not for 2020, but for his long-term situation in Green Bay.

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NFL: NFC Divisional Round-Seattle Seahawks At Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers should be set at running back for 2020. That’s the good news. With Aaron Jones’ breakout in 2019 leading the charge, the tailbacks should be in for yet another big season in 2020 with Matt LaFleur heading the offense.

The big question marks come next year, however, when both Jones and Jamaal Williams are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. Another year like his last could well price Jones out of the Packers’ plans, especially given the increasing cap hits of the big-name players on the roster and extensions still needed for names like Kenny Clark, David Bakhtiari, and Corey Linsley.

What will general manager Brian Gutekunst do about the tailbacks? Well, if he ends up following the approach of his mentor, Ted Thompson, the likely scenario will be to let Jones walk instead of paying him big money and rely on the NFL Draft to deliver some reasonable replacements. Don’t be shocked if Gutekunst takes a flier on a day-three tailback again this year, either, to give a potential heir a year to transition into a more prominent role.

One thing that appears unlikely, however, is that the team would extend Jones’ deal before the 2019 season starts. Clark is already a huge priority, and there are too many other mouths to feed at positions that are more difficult to find production. Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that there is no collective bargaining agreement in place for 2021 or beyond, so teams may be unwilling to devote big money to long-term contract extensions.

All told, it will be interesting to see how things work out with Jones in the next 12 to 14 months. Hopefully he’ll have another tremendous year in 2020 and cash in next year, but don’t be surprised if he gets a big payday from another team.

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