The Miami Dolphins saw a potential top-end free agent target get pulled off the market on Sunday when news broke that the Green Bay Packers had re-signed running back Aaron Jones to a four-year, $48 million contract. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Jones returning to Green Bay is a change from just a couple of weeks ago when reports indicated the Dolphins and Jones were mutually interested in the veteran rusher moving to South Florida. Miami is likely looking to upgrade their rushing attack for next season following a disappointing performance from 2020 free agent acquisition Jordan Howard. The Dolphins released Howard midseason after his 28 carries in five games resulted in just 33 yards. He did score four touchdowns for Miami.
Jones was rumored to be one of, if not the, top targets for the Dolphins in free agency when it opens next week. The Dolphins could now turn to the 2021 NFL Draft to address the running back position or they could look to add a mid-level veteran runner, potentially on a one-year, “prove it” type of contract. They also could look to continue with Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed serving as the top two in the position.
With Jones off the market, Miami’s free agency plans likely change, with the potential that wide receiver and edge rusher becoming more of a priority. In free agency, Miami could still target players like Marlon Mack, James Conner, or even a return of Kenyan Drake. If Miami does decide to look to the Draft for a running back, players like Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, and Javonte Williams are all potential targets, with Miami potentially using a pick as early as the 18th overall selection to add one of them.
The “legal tampering” period for the 2021 free agency period begins on Monday. The full start of free agency is on Wednesday.