The New England Patriots might have to worry about one of the NFL’s better dual-threat running backs joining the AFC East.
The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson on Monday reported there is “mutual interest” between Aaron Jones and the Dolphins. Jones, a 2020 Pro Bowl selection, is headed for the open market and ranks among the best running backs in this year’s free-agent class.
The on-the-rise Dolphins certainly could use Jones to help stabilize their backfield. Miami featured a rotating cast of characters at running back last season, including Myles Gaskin and Matt Breida. While both Gaskin and Breida were productive at times for the Fins in 2020, Jones would be a pretty significant upgrade over both players.
Jones, a 2017 fifth-round pick, ran for over 1,000 yards in each of the last two seasons and racked up a combined 25 touchdowns on the ground between the 2019 and 2020 campaigns. The 26-year-old also has proven to be a viable pass-catcher, totaling a combined 96 receptions over the last two seasons.
Of course, a potential roadblock to the Dolphins — or any other interested teams — in trying to sign Jones would be the franchise tag. The Packers have until March 9 to decide whether they want to franchise Jones, who would be on the hook for just north of $8 million in 2021 if tagged, per Over The Cap. Green Bay might not be inclined to pay that steep of a price for Jones, especially since the franchise used a second-round pick on running back A.J. Dillon last year.
But while Jones could fill a void in spades for the Dolphins, he might not be Miami’s priority this offseason. A Deshaun Watson trade almost feels inevitable at this point, and South Beach long has been viewed as a logical landing spot for the superstar quarterback.
In fact, Watson reportedly would be amenable to taking his talents to Miami.