Aaron Jones remains a solid RB1 option amid Packers attempt to trade for Jonathan Taylor

With the Packers' interest in Colts star running back Jonathan Taylor seemingly in the rearview mirror, Aaron Jones remains firmly entrenched as the team's RB1.

New England Patriots v Green Bay Packers
New England Patriots v Green Bay Packers / John Fisher/GettyImages
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Packers expressed interest in Jonathan Taylor despite having Jones on their roster

Star running back Jonathan Taylor recently requested to be traded from the Indianapolis Colts after the two sides were unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension. Since then, the Miami Dolphins have been the team most heavily linked to Taylor, but the Green Bay Packers emerged as a suitor despite already having a Pro Bowl running back on their roster.

Per ESPN’s Stephen Holder, the Packers and Colts had discussions surrounding a trade that would send Taylor to Green Bay. Holder went on to report that the Packers’ interest in Taylor was legitimate, though it remains to be seen how interested they will be moving forward after no deal materialized.

The Colts gave Taylor a deadline of Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. ET to find a suitable trade partner. Once the deadline passed, the Colts placed Jonathan Taylor on the PUP list, meaning he must miss at least the first four games of the 2023 regular season.

With the trade speculation involving the Packers seemingly in the rearview mirror, Jonathan Taylor’s future with the Colts remains uncertain. Conversely, Aaron Jones remains firmly entrenched as the RB1 for the Packers amid their attempt to acquire Taylor.

Jones has finished as a top-12 fantasy football running back in PPR formats in three of his last four seasons on a points-per-game basis according to FantasyPros. In two of those seasons, he was a top-five-ranked running back. Despite this, Jones is currently being ranked just outside of FantasyPros’ top 12 running backs for 2023, but why?

Jones' first season without Aaron Rodgers

In case you didn’t hear, the Packers officially moved on from their four-time MVP-winning and future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers. During Rodgers’ time in Green Bay, the Packers were routinely one of the top offensive units in the NFL and Jones was one of the biggest beneficiaries of Rodgers’ presence.

Rodgers has made a living off featuring his running backs in the receiving game and Jones’ skillset fit that perfectly. Jones has hauled in at least 47 receptions and 350 receiving yards in each of his past four seasons playing with Rodgers. Jones has earned no less than 63 targets out of the backfield in each of the last four campaigns.

Jones' track record speaks for itself

Even without Rodgers, Jones will have a prominent role as a pass-catcher in an offense filled with several young receiving options and no clear alpha in the room. Second-year receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs are expected to be accompanied by rookie receiver Jayden Reed and rookie tight end Luke Musgrave in 11-personnel sets.

Additionally, Jones is one of the most efficient running backs in NFL history. Per the Packers team website, he ranks fourth all-time in league history with an average of 5.11 yards per carry among running backs with at least 850 career carries. His efficiency combined with his anticipated volume (200-plus carries in three of his last four seasons) sets him up to potentially surpass the career-high in rushing yards he set last season (1,121).

Jones is as efficient a tailback as they come and is slated to continue his status as a three-down bell cow with the Packers this upcoming season. He has eclipsed 1,400 yards from scrimmage in three of his past four seasons (had 1,190 in 2021) and now has an opportunity to be the central figure of the Packers’ offense in their first season without either one of Aaron Rodgers or Davante Adams.

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After setting a career-high in targets (72) and amassing over 1,500 yards from scrimmage last season, Aaron Jones checks all the boxes as a running back you want to draft with a chance for elite fantasy production. Despite the Packers’ reported interest in Jonathan Taylor, no deal came to fruition and Jones is a great RB1 to target for those who elected to forego the position with their first couple of picks.