Aaron Jones ended last season playing like an elite running back. Jones finished the season with a franchise-record five straight games with over 100 yards rushing, after not recording one from weeks 1-16. The recent memory of Jones dominating for the Packers is just one of the reasons why his sudden departure hurt so much for Green Bay Packers fans.

Jones signing a one-year deal with the Vikings the next day only added salt to the wound. Brian Gutekunst admitted that the decision to release Jones was one of the hardest he’s had to make, but after negotiations on a pay cut fell apart, Gutekunst pulled the trigger. Let’s examine the positives and negatives of Aaron Jones’ departure from the Packers and decide whether it was the right decision.

Positives Of Aaron Jones’ Departure From The Packers

Josh Jacobs

The biggest reason for optimism following Jones’ departure is the addition of Josh Jacobs. It was initially reported that despite the addition of Jacobs, Jones would remain in Green Bay, but that scenario was short-lived. The Jacobs signing was surprising, but exciting for Packers fans.

Jacobs is coming off a somewhat disappointing season for the Raiders. He rushed for 805 yards, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry. Jacobs missed the last four games of the season with a quad injury. In 2022-23 however, Jacobs led the league in rushing with 1653 yards, earning All-Pro honours. Green Bay is betting on Jacobs’ ability to bounce back and regain his form as a 1000+ yard rusher. Considering Jacobs has broken that mark in three of his five seasons in the NFL, it’s a smart bet from Gutekunst and the Packers.

At his best, Jacobs is a powerful, explosive back with pass-catching ability out of the backfield. At just 26 years old, he should have at least a couple more productive years in him.


NFL Running back is a young man’s position. The wear and tear racks up fast, and premier running backs often fall fast and hard. If you look at a list of running backs who will be 29 or older at the start of next season, it certainly contains more backups than stars. In recent years players such as Ezekiel Elliot and Dalvin Cook rapidly transformed from franchise cornerstones to backups. Both are younger than Aaron Jones.

While Jones proved he can still be an elite running back with his late season and playoff performances, last season also had warning signs. In his last season as a Packer, Jones missed six games with two separate injuries. First, Jones tweaked his hamstring during his explosive week one performance against the Bears. Then in week 11, Jones was carted off against the Chargers. Luckily, Jones’ second injury wasn’t as bad as it looked.

Generally, Jones has been durable for the Packers, missing just four games in the four seasons before last year. Regardless, Jones will be 30 in December and his body has endured a lot. It’s possible last season’s injuries were the start of his health deteriorating. Going younger at running back is a sensible decision for Green Bay.

Negatives Of Aaron Jones’ Departure From The Packers

Playoff Performances

After the departure of Aaron Rodgers, it was widely suspected there would be a rebuild in Green Bay. The Packers weren’t expected to be terrible, but seeing them make the playoffs was surprising. It was shocking to see them thoroughly embarrass the Cowboys in Dallas. Few expected to come as close to upsetting San Fransisco as they did.

None of this would have been possible without Aaron Jones. He dominated in Dallas, scoring three touchdowns and continually demoralizing the Cowboys’ defence. He followed that up by rushing for over 100 yards against San Fransisco’s defence that hadn’t allowed a player to go for 100 yards rushing for a staggering 44 games. Jones hasn’t been perfect in his playoff career, but his stats are impressive. As Green Bay strives for a Super Bowl in the Jordan Love era, they could miss Jones’ playoff performances.


Aaron Jones’ personality is refreshing in a league where egos can spin out of control. Raised in a military family, he often impressed the media with his respectful, down-to-earth demeanour. As Jones went from a young player to an undisputed leader in the Packers locker room, he set a fantastic example for his younger teammates. With the departure of several veterans before the 2023 season, Jones became a more vocal leader for Green Bay.

Jones’ leadership was apparent in Green Bay’s week nine game against the Rams. After rookie Dontayvion Wicks lost a fumble, he headed to the sideline with his head down. Jones picked Wicks’ head up and sat on the bench with him, encouraging the young receiver. Up to that point, Wicks hadn’t made much of an impact for the Packers in his rookie season.

After the Rams game, Wicks broke out for Green Bay, scoring 4 touchdowns in the last 4 games of the season including a beautiful TD against the Cowboys in the playoffs. A star veteran player who picks up a rookie after a poor mistake is invaluable. The Packers’ young players will undoubtedly miss that leadership from Aaron Jones.

Aaron Jones’ Departure From The Packers – Was It The Right Decision?

As much as it stings, the Packers made the right decision in replacing Aaron Jones with the younger Josh Jacobs. It will hurt Packers fans to see Jones in Vikings’ colours next season, but this is a solid business decision in the bigger picture. Regardless of which team he went to, Aaron Jones deserves a warm welcome when he returns to Lambeau Field next season. Jones is one of the greatest running backs the franchise has seen and he’s an even better person.

Do you think the Packers made the right decision? Will you miss Aaron Jones? Let me know, and stay tuned as Area 51 covers the rest of the NFL offseason.