GREEN BAY, Wis. – There are only 11 running backs in NFL history with a career average of at least 5.0 yards per carry. Five of them are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
One of the other six is Green Bay Packers star Aaron Jones.
While the Packers didn’t sign anyone of note in free agency, the re-signing of Jones was an unexpected move considering his brilliance on the field and the Packers’ problems with the salary cap. On the eve of the free-agent negotiating period, Jones agreed to a four-year, $48 million contract that included a $13 million signing bonus. The structure of the deal ensures he’ll spend at least the next two seasons in Green Bay.
“I want to rewrite the history books and leave my stamp,” Jones said after signing. “And I feel like that’s the best way to do it, is leaving your name in the history books.”
Coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, Jones ranks 11th in Packers history with 3,364 rushing yards. If he reaches 1,000 yards again in the new 17-game format, he’ll zoom all the way into fourth place in franchise history. Among those he’d pass would be Hall of Famers Paul Hornung (ninth with 3,711), Clarke Hinkle (seventh with 3,860) and Tony Canadeo (fourth with 4,197).
Jones would have to fulfill his entire four-year contract, and possibly sign another deal, to pass franchise rushing leader Ahman Green (8,322 yards; 4,958 yards more than Jones) and Hall of Famer Jim Taylor (8,207; 4,843 more than Jones). But two more quality seasons would get Jones to No. 3 all-time. That spot is held by John Brockington, whose 5,024 career rushing yards are 1,660 more than Jones.
Statistically, Jones is one of the most explosive running backs in NFL history. His career average of 5.17 yards per carry ranks sixth all-time. Hall of Famer Marion Motley is No. 1 in NFL history with his 5.70-yard average. Cleveland’s Nick Chubb (third, 5.23) is the only other active back on the list.
In 2020, Jones averaged 5.49 yards per carry, the best mark in franchise history and 18th-best in NFL history (minimum 200 carries).
Jones and the legendary Jim Brown are the only players in NFL history with career marks of at least 3,000 rushing yards, 35 touchdowns and a 5.0 rushing average.
“Just to continue to do even better,” Jones, who will pair with AJ Dillon to potentially give the team a top tandem in 2021, said of his goals during OTAs. “I have some I left my dad with before, it was our goal, so I’m just going to keep it at that. Eventually, everybody will know what it is. Just to win the Super Bowl, that’s the ultimate goal. We’ve been there, close two years in a row, so, at the end of the day, that’s the ultimate goal and anything else that comes after that is even better.”
Yards Per Carry, NFL Running Backs
(Minimum 600 carries)
* Marion Motley: 5.70
Jamaal Charles: 5.38
Nick Chubb, 5.23
* Jim Brown, 5.22
Dan Towler, 5.20
Aaron Jones, 5.17
Johnny Strzyalski, 5.16
Mercury Morris, 5.14
* Charley Trippi, 5.10
* Joe Perry, 5.04
* Gale Sayers, 5.00
* denotes Hall of Famer