Packers GM open to using franchise tag on RB Aaron Jones

The March 9 tag deadline is only a week away and Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst is carefully weighing his options.

With Aaron Jones barreling toward unrestricted free agency faster than the end zone on game day, Green Bay is running out of time to make a decision on one of the NFL's best running backs.

Handing Jones the franchise tag means he'd play out 2021 making around $8.074 million; using the transition tag keeps him in town next season only making slightly less money. When asked about either outcome on Tuesday, Gutekunst didn't dismiss the possibility.

"We certainly could. It's something we're working through. It's not a philosophical thing to avoid it. There's usually better ways (to retain players)," Gutekunst said, per ESPN.

While Gutekunst has only been at the helm in Green Bay since 2018, it's worth noting that the club hasn't used its franchise tag since 2010.

The two sides have been working for months to come to a resolution, but it's clear the final figures have yet to appeal to both parties. And, while the Packers, like many teams, are cap-strapped, failing to make the necessary financial adjustments to lock Jones down long-term and allowing him to hit the open market would certainly be a risky choice to make.

"If that becomes what's in the best interest of the Packers, I think we'll do that, but at this point we haven't done that," Gutekunst added in regards to remaining open-minded toward the idea of tagging Jones.

If the team opts to let the 2020 Pro Bowler walk, the focus would likely shift toward retaining backup Jamaal Williams, who recently expressed his desire to stay, to pair with 2020 second-rounder A.J. Dillon. For now, though, Packers brass still has a chance to do right by one of their best players.

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