A.J. Dillon

AJ Dillon Discusses Decision To Re-Sign With Packers

While the Packers underwent some major changes atop their RB depth chart, AJ Dillon will be sticking around Green Bay after re-signing with the organization this offseason. While the running back acknowledged that he probably could have earned more money on a new squad, he believes the extra cash wasn’t enough to uproot his family.

“Obviously money-wise, there was maybe a little more here or a little more there, a little less there,” Dillon said (via Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette). “It wasn’t really that big of a deal. It was more so where I felt like I could just be the best, and be the best for the team.

“And also, in all honesty, picking up my family and going ahead and moving. I’ve got a 1-year-old son, and obviously I love Green Bay. Take that away from the Packers – no disrespect to the Packers – but Green Bay will be my home after, regardless if I go somewhere else, or I did go somewhere else.”

The running back ended up re-signing with the Packers via the rarely used four-year qualifying offer, a decision that locked him into a $1.2MM cap hit in 2024. That drop-in-the-pan commitment all but assures that he’ll end up making the roster, even as the front office completely revamped the rest of the running backs room.

The organization ended up joining the RB carousel, replacing Aaron Jones with Josh Jacobs. The Packers also added rookie MarShawn Lloyd in the third round, perhaps leading to Dillon’s most uncertain role in years heading into 2024. The former second-round pick had his best season in 2021, finishing with 1,116 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns. His yardage dropped to 967 in 2022, and despite starting a career-high six games in 2023, he collected 836 yards on a career-low 4.2 yards per touch.

Packers To Re-Sign RB AJ Dillon

AJ Dillon is sticking in Green Bay after all. Following plenty of speculation that the running back could be playing elsewhere in 2024, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports that Dillon is expected to re-sign with the Packers.

[RELATED: Packers Expected To Sign RB Josh Jacobs]

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport clarifies that the organization used the “rare” four-year qualifying offer to retain Dillon. This deal allowed the Packers to retain Dillon, and they’ll owe him $1.35MM more than his five-year minimum salary (h/t Matt Schneidman of The Athletic). That would mean Dillon is attached to a $2.6MM deal for the 2024 campaign.

Dillon played sparingly as a rookie, but he’s seen a consistent role on the Packers’ offense over the past three years. The team rolled with the Dillon/Aaron Jones duo for each of those three seasons, but the team’s sudden decision to pivot to Josh Jacobs put the two-headed monster’s Green Bay future in doubt. The team already cut Jones, and Dillon’s free agency made it seem like he wasn’t going to return to the Packers.

Even before the start of free agency, there were rumblings that Dillon wouldn’t be back in Green Bay. As a result, a handful of suitors started to line up for the former second-round pick’s services. We learned yesterday that Dillon was eyeing deals with the Cowboys, Giants, and Colts, and Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report notes that the RB garnered interest from at least two teams.

Instead, Dillon will return to the only NFL team he’s ever played for. Despite generally seeing the same number of touches over the past three seasons, Dillon’s numbers have dropped. After peaking with 1,116 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns (on 221 touches) in 2021, Dillon was limited to only 836 yards from scrimmage and two scores (on 200 touches) in 2023, and that was despite the fact that he started a career-high six games this past season. Despite the downtick in counting stats, Pro Football Focus still ranked Dillon 22nd among 59 qualifying running backs in 2023.

Dillon will likely see a similar role on offense in 2024, although he’ll now be playing behind one of the league’s top workhorse RBs. Still, Jacobs missed at least one game in each of his five seasons with the Raiders, so Dillon will likely be called on to lead the running backs room at some point next year.

More to come…

RB AJ Dillon Eyeing Deal With Cowboys, Giants, Colts

Most of the top available running backs have quickly found a new home this offseason. The 2024 free agent class featured several prominent names, and they have switched teams (in certain cases, remaining in the division while doing so). AJ Dillon is among the best remaining backfield options, and he appears to have a shortlist of destinations.

The former Packers back has interest in a deal with the Cowboys, Giants and Colts, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Dallas could indeed be a suitor for Dillon (although nothing is imminent at this time), colleague Jane Slater adds. Slater also notes a Cowboys reunion with Ezekiel Elliott is not in the team’s plans as things currently stand.

Dallas saw Tony Pollard take a deal with the Titans in the early portion of the negotiating window, a departure which did come as a major surprise. Pollard took on undisputed lead back duties with Elliott out of the picture last year, and his efficiency saw a notable decline. Still, eyebrows have been raised at the lack of action on the veteran market with respect to RBs for the Cowboys. The team’s second-leading rusher in 2023 was Rico Dowdle, who is unsigned.

The Giants also lost a 2023 franchise tag recipient in the form of Saquon Barkley. He made an intra-NFC East swap by joining the Eagles on a three-year deal, after the Giants did not submit a new offer this offseason. New York has, however, responded by bringing in Devin SingletaryThe latter landed a three-year, $19.5MM pact to serve as the Giants’ lead back, so any Dillion arrangement would see him play as a backup or part of a tandem as he did in Green Bay with Aaron Jones.

Indianapolis appeared destined to trade Jonathan Taylor for much of the 2023 offseason, but he and the Colts ultimately worked out an extension. The 2021 rushing champion will be tasked with carrying the load next season and beyond, so like the Giants the Colts have less of a need in the backfield than the Cowboys. With Anthony Richardson at quarterback after a four-game rookie season, though, Indianapolis will no doubt prioritize a strong ground game.

Dillon played sparingly as a rookie in 2020, but since then he has seen a consistent workload serving as a change-of-pace compared to Jones. The 25-year-old totaled 1,573 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground between the 2021 and ’22 seasons, but he regressed last season. Dillion saw his yards per carry average drop to a career-low 3.4 in 2023, something which has no doubt hurt his market. If at least one of the three teams on his radar reciprocates his interest, though, a deal could be worked out somewhat quickly.

Packers Aiming To Reduce Aaron Jones’ Cap Number, Not Expected To Re-Sign AJ Dillon

Just more than a year ago, the Packers helped lay the groundwork for a rough running back year. They reached a pay-cut agreement with Aaron Jones, ensuring he would stay for the 2023 season. That pact paid off, with Jones helping drive the team to the divisional round.

GM Brian Gutekunst said earlier this offseason the team planned to retain Jones, who is going into his age-29 season. But the Packers are interested in lowering Jones’ $17MM 2024 cap number. With this being the final year of the talented running back’s contract, such a reduction is a trickier matter.

Packers brass and Jones’ agent met Friday about making the change, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein. It is unclear how the sides plan to accomplish this goal. Also unclear: how motivated Green Bay is to make the move. An all-or-nothing effort on this front would naturally put Jones’ roster spot in jeopardy. An extension would help here, as going deeper into the void years well would increase dead money associated with the contract-year RB.

Jones accepted a $5MM reduction in exchange for an $8.52MM signing bonus last February. The void years from that adjustment run through 2027. Were Jones to depart as a free agent next year, the Pack would be hit with $6.6MM in dead money. Should Green Bay release the productive back now, a post-June 1 designation would probably be necessary. That would only leave the team with $5.7MM in 2024 dead money, while bringing more than $11MM in cap savings. That said, Jones remains a valuable piece and the only veteran presence among the team’s skill-position corps.

A four-year Packer contributor, AJ Dillon is on track for free agency. The between-the-tackles bulldozer is not expected to be re-signed, Silverstein adds. Although Jones battled hamstring and knee injuries in 2023, he returned and ripped off a borderline-dominant stretch to help the Packers make a late-season charge that ended with the team putting a scare into the eventual NFC champion 49ers in Round 2. Jones put together for five consecutive 100-plus-yard rushing games to close the season. Dillon did not fare as well in a contract year.

The former second-round pick averaged a career-low 3.4 yards per carry, scoring just two touchdowns. The Packers leaned on their experienced RBs last season, deploying a WR-TE contingent consisting entirely of first- or second-year players. Dillon totaled 1,573 rushing yards and 12 TDs between the 2021 and ’22 seasons, becoming a popular presence in Green Bay despite a limited pass-game skillset.

Jones is one of the game’s best dual-threat backs, and the Packers would certainly miss the former fifth-round pick if he was jettisoned. That said, a host of options will be available to RB-needy teams in free agency. That spells trouble for Dillon, who joins Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, Austin Ekeler, Derrick Henry, Tony Pollard, D’Andre Swift and Gus Edwards as notable backs set to hit the market. The Bengals may add Joe Mixon to this list soon as well. This would help the team with Jones, who is due an $11.1MM base salary next season. Though, it is unclear if the Packers are planning another pay-cut ultimatum.

The Packers recently created some cap space by restructuring the contracts of Preston Smith and Rashan Gary, per ESPN.com’s Field Yates and NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero. The moves created more than $7MM in cap space together. Green Bay, which is also likely to release David Bakhtiari, currently holds just more than $14MM in cap room.

NFL Injury Rumors: Holland, Dillon, Pacheco, Miller, Elam

Injuries aren’t anything to keep Dolphins safety Jevon Holland down for long. The third-year starter has missed three games this season (the most he’s missed in his short carer) while dealing with reported knee injuries. According to an interview Holland did with Adam Beasley of Pro Football Network, the Dolphins defender has been dealing with two MCL sprains.

A single MCL sprain is enough to force many players to sit out multiple games, as those knee ligament injuries are not meant to be dealt with lightly. Regardless, Holland wants to be through with missing time, telling Beasley that “he’s optimistic about playing this week.” With the team’s other starting safety DeShon Elliott out this week after suffering a concussion in Miami’s surprising loss to the Titans on Monday, the defense would be glad to return Holland to the field.

Here are a few other injury rumors from around the NFL:

  • Packers running back A.J. Dillon has already been asked to step into a starting role with Aaron Jones out for the past three weeks. Green Bay may be down another rusher as Dillon reportedly suffered a broken thumb in the team’s loss to the Giants on Monday night, per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. Like Holland, Dillon isn’t one to miss time with an injury. The only games he’s missed in his career were due to COVID-19 during his rookie year. That being said, he’s never played with a broken thumb. He’s listed as questionable heading into the weekend, but Dillon is trying to figure out if he can play through the injury. The biggest issue comes with the fact that opposing teams will know of the injury and attempts to punch out fumbles could lead to further harm.
  • Isiah Pacheco has only missed one game since taking over as the Chiefs‘ starting running back in Week 2, sitting out for last week’s loss to the Bills. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, head coach Andy Reid reported that Pacheco underwent “a clean up procedure on his shoulder” that will force him to miss this weekend’s matchup with the Patriots, as well. Reid expects that Pacheco should be able to return after that.
  • Yet another running back, Saints rookie rusher Kendre Miller has missed the team’s past four games with an ankle injury and is scheduled to miss a fifth straight game this weekend. NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill believes that we haven’t seen the last of Miller this season. While the TCU-product may not be back immediately after this week’s game, Underhill thinks a Week 17 appearance in Tampa Bay could be in the cards for the 21-year-old.
  • Lastly, it’s safe to say that we haven’t seen the best from Bills second-year cornerback Kaiir Elam in his sophomore season. 2023 has been an injury-riddled year for the Florida-product as he’s only made an appearance in three games this year, the most recent of which only saw him on special teams. According to Ryan O’Halloran of The Buffalo News, Elam reportedly tore an ankle ligament prior to the start of the regular season. While he did sit out the team’s first four contests, Elam’s Week 5 return apparently saw him attempting to play through the injury without it being healed due to injuries to Tre’Davious White and Christian Benford in the team’s Week 4 win over the Dolphins. The injury would eventually push him onto injured reserve at the start of November. He’s since been designated to return from IR. If he isn’t able to return by shortly after Christmas, Elam will remain on IR for the rest of the year.

RB A.J. Dillon Hopes To Remain With Packers

Many thought the 2023 offseason would be one in which the Packers altered their running back depth chart, but the team will maintain the status quo in that regard heading into the season. That will leave A.J. Dillon in a backup role, but he is not looking to play his way out of Green Bay this year.

The 25-year-old is entering the final year of his rookie contract, one which has proven to be a highly valuable one for the Packers over the past two campaigns in particular. Dillon had a breakout season in 2021 with 1,116 scrimmage yards and seven total touchdowns, seemingly leaving the door open to his ascension to a starting role ahead of Aaron Jones in 2022 or ’23. However, the the pair split snaps and carries once again last season, with Dillon’s yardage and efficiency totals regressing.

Jones agreed to take a $5MM pay cut this offseason, ensuring that he will remain in Green Bay for at least one more year. That could complicate Dillon’s efforts to take a step forward in production ahead of his first foray into free agency, but he is not concerned with boosting his value as much as he is eyeing a deal allowing him to remain with the Packers for the long term.

“I love Green Bay,” the former second-rounder said, via Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal. “Green Bay knows that. I love the Packers. The Packers know that. I’d play here until I can’t run anymore. I’ll pick up long snapper or whatever it is when I start slowing down. But there’s only so much I can control.”

Jones has two more years on his contract, but at age 28 (and with little in the way of experienced depth options at the RB spot) it would come as little surprise if the Packers were to shift their attention towards Dillon as their starter of the future. At a minimum, an extension for the latter would allow the team to maintain what has been an effective tandem in the backfield while transitioning to Jordan Love at quarterback. Dillon stated that he intends to “play free and have fun” after a disappointing 2022 campaign, something which could earn him a considerable raise from the Packers or another team.

“And how ever that happens – whether it’s 1,000 yards, 2,000 yards, 100 yards – so be it,” he added. “I’m going to have fun and enjoy all the time I have here. And hopefully, we’re back here next year.”

Packers Could Shake Up RB Depth Chart Next Offseason

The Packers had one of the best RB tandems in the NFL last season, and they’ll roll with the same duo in 2022. However, that might be the last season we’ll see the two-headed monster in Green Bay. Matt Schneidman of The Athletic writes that the Packers could move on from one of Aaron Jones or AJ Dillon next offseason.

This isn’t a huge surprise if you look at Green Bay’s cap sheet. Dillon will be entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2023, and if he can match his breakout sophomore numbers (1,116 yards from scrimmage, seven touchdowns), then he’ll surely be pushing for an extension. Considering the Packers invested a second-round pick in Dillon, they’d presumably be willing to oblige.

However, it was only a year ago that the Packers inked Jones to a four-year, $48MM extension. That $12MM AAV ranks seventh at the position, and Green Bay could save themselves $10MM by cutting the veteran running back. It’d make sense for Green Bay to pivot that cap hit to the younger Dillon.

Following 2019 and 2020 campaigns where Jones combined for more than 3,000 yards from scrimmage while finding the end zone 30 times, the Packers pretty much split the RB carries evenly between Jones and Dillon in 2021. The move worked out for Green Bay, as they got 2,306 yards from scrimmage and 17 touchdowns from the duo.

“I think they feed off each other pretty well,” running backs coach Ben Sirmans said (via Schneidman). “It’s kind of a luxury because you can keep them both fresh throughout the game and then toward the end, you can either throw AJ in there to pound and wear the defense down or put Aaron in and all of a sudden the defense is worn down and it’s an explosive play. Having a blend of both those guys, that will continue throughout this upcoming season.”

If the Packers do move on from one of the two RBs next offseason, the other running backs on the Packers roster could parlay a solid 2022 campaign into a bigger role in 2023. Patrick Taylor and Kylin Hill are still around, although the latter could start the season on PUP. Green Bay also brought in a pair of undrafted free agent RBs in Tyler Goodson and BJ Baylor.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/10/20

Here are Thursday’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: RB A.J. Dillon; Dillon had been on the Packers’ virus list since testing positive Nov. 2

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Rams

  • Promoted: K Austin MacGinnis

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

Pittsburgh Steelers

Packers’ A.J. Dillon Tests Positive For COVID-19

On Monday morning, the Packers announced that one of their players has tested positive for the coronavirus. That player is running back A.J. Dillon, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter).

[RELATED: Ravens’ Marlon Humphrey Tests Positive For COVID-19]

With that, the Packers’ Thursday night game against the 49ers is now in jeopardy. Dillon has been in especially close proximity with the team’s other RBs, heightening the odds of potential transmission. In any event, Dillon will be a no-go for this week.

Dillon played on ten offensive snaps and seven special teams snaps against the Vikings on Sunday. The hope is that there was no viral spread during his limited usage.

The league tests its players on Sunday morning before each game, but the results do not come in until Sunday night or Monday morning. Similar to the situation with the Ravens and star cornerback Marlon Humphrey, the team did not have knowledge of Dillon’s test results until after the game was played.

The Packers selected Dillon with the No. 62 overall pick in this year’s draft. Once projected to play linebacker at Boston College, he’s a promising talent as a power RB. So far this year, he’s averaging 4.2 yards per carry on a limited sample of 23 totes.

Packers Sign A.J. Dillon

The Packers have formally signed second-round pick A.J. Dillon, per a club announcement. The running back out of Boston College is set to earn $5.29MM over the course of his four-year deal, per the terms of his slot at No. 62 overall. That sum includes a $1.404MM signing bonus.

Dillon dazzled as a frosh, running for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was slowed a bit by a leg injury in 2018, but he came roaring back last year. In his final year at BC, Dillon posted 1,685 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns while putting together one heck of a highlight reel. Among his brightest moments – a pair of 200-yard games, against NC State and Syracuse.

Dillon, who once thought his football future was at linebacker, stands at nearly 6’0″ and weighs roughly 250 pounds. The powerful runner will now look to make a dent as a pro, playing alongside incumbent starter Aaron Jones.

Here’s the full rundown of the Packers’ 2020 NFL Draft class, courtesy of PFR’s tracker:

1-26: Jordan Love, QB (Utah State)
2-62: A.J. Dillon, RB (Boston College): Signed
3-94: Josiah Deguara, TE (Cincinnati)
5-175: Kamal Martin, LB (Minnesota)
6-192: Jon Runyan, G (Michigan): Signed
6-208: Jake Hanson, C (Oregon)
6-209: Simon Stepaniak, T (Indiana): Signed
7-236: Vernon Scott, S (TCU): Signed
7-242: Jonathan Garvin, DE (Miami): Signed