Aaron Jones departure raises even bigger concern for Matt LaFleur

Matt LaFleur was seemingly not in-the-know about the Packers moves at the beginning of free agency.

Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers
Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

When the legal tampering period for the NFL opened on March 11, 2024, there was a flurry of information everywhere. The Green Bay Packers running back room was no exception. 

In the span of an hour and six minutes, the Packers had signed Josh Jacobs and released Aaron Jones. That news caught everyone by surprise, including their head coach Matt Lafleur.

An unsuspecting Matt LaFleur got hit by a whirlwind of Packers free-agency moves

“It kind of caught me off guard…” is what LeFleur said about the RB1 switch for his team, and that reaction is not great. It seems like a good practice would be to have your head coach be able to somewhat predict who is going to be in his running back room, but what the hell do we know? None of us are a head coach in the NFL (unless you are. In that case, what’s up?).

Looking back at March 11, there might actually be a real reason LaFleur was caught off guard and that’s because, timeline-wise, the Packers’ change was quick. 

At 1:05 pm CDT, Ian Rapoport tweeted that The Packers were expected to sign Josh Jacobs. At 2:11 pm CDT, Adam Schefter tweeted that the Packers released Aaron Jones. It was literally a 66-minute span where this happened.

LaFleur also said, “There were some other things in play, obviously with Aaron Jones, and I didn’t quite know how everything was going to go. It just happened really fast on that Monday.”

What kinds of other things were at play? Maybe his phone was updating for 30 minutes that afternoon. That would probably take around 30 minutes. Then you have to assume that he called Josh Jacobs and that probably took another 30 minutes. 

After a 30-minute conversation with his new RB1 where LaFleur was probably literally salivating the entire time, he felt parched. He needed to go get something to drink, but the Gatorade got caught up in the vending machine and he had to shake it for five minutes before it actually came out. That whole thing took a total of 65 minutes. 

At that point, he’s probably trying to call Aaron Jones, but Jones is on the phone with his agent, trying to find out what’s next for his career. LaFleur finally gets a hold of Jones after trying for 15 minutes, but by that time Aaron has already signed with the Vikings. It’s a very simple explanation as to why LaFleur was caught off guard. 

That could’ve been what happened… or it could’ve been that LaFleur was hoping to sign a Tony Pollard-type player to be Jones’ counterpart in the backfield. That way he would be able to keep his long-time workhorse running back while also having a suitable replacement to keep everyone’s touches at a manageable, yet efficient number.

Either way, there was certainly a lack of communication between some combination of LaFleur, the Packers’ front office, and Aaron Jones. Regardless of which, you don't want that lapse to happen, and you don't want your head coach to publically hint at it.