Aaron Jones Signing Dubbed Best Value Add of NFL Free Agency

Aaron Jones
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

A year ago, NFL conversations were fixated on the gradual devaluation of running backs. The theory is that paying veterans such as Aaron Jones isn’t worth it because you can always draft a low-cost replacement with fresh legs.

This mindset set the 2024 free agency class up for an explosion of veteran options hitting the open market and brought the cost of such difference-making talent down to such a clearance rack price that even the most forward thinking front offices couldn’t say no.

Minnesota Vikings can’t say no to bargain bin prices on free agent running backs

From versatile threats with superstar potential like Saquon Barkley to downhill freight trains like Derrick Henry; we’re talking offense-changing star power that could be had for ~$10 million per season, the same price that the Vikings paid their bridge QB, Sam Darnold.

Even “second-tier” options like former Packer, Aaron Jones, offered an upgrade at running back for just about every team in the NFL at a bargain bin rate of $7 million per season, which is what he signed with Minnesota for. At that price, even the most analytically sound general managers, like Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, saw the incredible value Jones offers a Vikings offense that desperately needs more production out of the backfield.

“We get the conversation about running backs and age and different things like that. But I think, as you’ve seen this year in the market, maybe that dynamic has gone a little too far to the other side, and teams are realizing that there’s still really good players [at running back]. That they’re valued, and it’s a position where you can really upgrade performance at a pretty efficient [price].”

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (quote via ESPN)

Related: Vikingsโ€™ Plan to Get Aggressive in Trade Up for JJ McCarthy

Aaron Jones – The best bargain signing of NFL free agency?

On paper, it appears the Vikings did well by signing Jones, but that’s much easier to say with purple-tinted goggles on. So… we look elsewhere for football opinions where bias doesn’t play into the evaluation. And that’s when we ran into an opinion from ESPN NFL expert, Eric Moody, who wholeheartedly agrees that landing Jones at $7 million was highway robbery for the Vikings. In fact, he believes it was ‘the best bargain signing of free agency.’

“Vikings signing RB Aaron Jones to a one-year, $7 million deal. While Jones is 29 years old, he has spent most of his career in a committee and averages 14.9 touches per game. Last season, Jones averaged 15.6 touches and 80.8 total yards per game and performed great for the Packers. With Ty Chandler, he forms a formidable running back committee for the Vikings.”

ESPN’s Eric Moody on Vikings signing Aaron Jones

Related: Donโ€™t Sleep on Minnesota Vikingsโ€™ Interest in Jayden Daniels

If Jones can stay healthy and maintain a similar level of production that he offered Green Bay, he would indeed be a steal at that price. Plus, the Vikings can keep working Chandler into the rotation too, hoping he develops into an eventual starter. Either way, taking a chance on Jones for just one season can’t hurt the Vikings in the long run, and it could pay major dividends this year while a rookie QB gets up to speed.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: