Aaron Jones' future in Green Bay became more and more uncertain as the league barreled through the franchise tag deadline and neared the start of the new league year.
Then, the Packers made an offer Jones wouldn't refuse. Four years and $48 million meant Jones was staying home.
"My mom was telling me the whole time, 'You're going to end back up in Green Bay. Don't worry about it,'" said Jones on Friday, via the team's official website. "I guess mom always knows."
Jones returns to an offense in which he was a focal point, rushing for 1,000-plus yards in each of his last two seasons, Green Bay's first two under coach Matt LaFleur. Jones went from being a criminally underused back to a key piece in LaFleur's offense, helping the Packers win the NFC North in 2019 and 2020, and reach the conference title game in each season.
Both times, they fell flat on the doorstep of the Super Bowl. Getting over the hump is goal No. 1 in 2021, an opportunity Jones knew he didn't want to pass up.
"I feel like this is a perfect fit for me," Jones said. "I've been in this offense. I know what comes with it. I know my teammates here, and we feel like we have unfinished business."
Green Bay has twice reached the NFC Championship Game with the expectation of at least competing for the crown. The first time around, the Packers were knocked around before being dropped to the mat in Santa Clara against a superior 49ers squad. A year later, they had a chance to earn redemption, but it slipped through their fingers against a white-hot Buccaneers team that ended up winning it all.
Retaining Jones was key, even as other players (center Corey Linsley, for one) departed in free agency. Green Bay opted to keep Jones and pair him with second-year back A.J. Dillon while knowing Jones' new deal would spell the end to Jamaal Williams' time in Green Bay.
"A.J. hit me up right away (after agreeing to re-sign) and was happy to have me back," Jones said. "For us to grow our relationship, and me help him in any way I can and him help me in any way he can ... is going to be special. He's already showcased a little of the things that he can do. I think we complement each other really well."
Such sacrifices are necessary in a league designed to maintain parity. Jones is just glad he wasn't part of the sacrifices, and he's ready to run it back with the only team he's ever known.