Aaron Jones

Packers Expect To Retain Aaron Jones, Not Considering Jaire Alexander Trade

The 2023 offseason involved multiple teams moving pricey running back contracts off their payroll, while others — the Packers included — reached pay-cut agreements with veteran starters. Aaron Jones‘ contract runs through 2024 and sees its cap number increase significantly, seemingly putting the accomplished back on unstable ground.

GM Brian Gutekunst may be putting a stop to talk of Jones leaving Green Bay, however, indicating (via The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman) the Packers “absolutely” expect their starting running back to be on the 2024 roster. Jones has been with the Packers since 2017. Of the deep 2017 RB draft class, only he, Alvin Kamara and Joe Mixon remain with the teams that selected them.

Jones agreed to take a $5MM pay cut last February, with that deal adding an $8.52MM signing bonus. The restructure added void years to the veteran back’s deal and trimmed his 2023 cap figure to $8.2MM. The cap hit spikes to $17MM in 2024, potentially pointing to another Packers move to address their top RB’s deal.

He was such a difference-maker when he was out there this year, the way our offense was able to move,” Gutekunst said. “He changed a lot of the way we operated when he was in there and when he was healthy. He’s just really the heartbeat of our team.”

A Jones extension would make sense, as the void years on the current deal would bring a $6.6MM dead-money hit if he is not re-signed before the 2025 league year. Though, teams are no longer making a habit of reupping backs in their late 20s. The Packers gave Jones a four-year, $48MM deal just before free agency in 2021, changing course after several years of not paying running backs. The NFL largely opted to squeeze RBs last year, bringing another value drop for a position long past its prestige peak.

Jones, 29, missed time this season due to MCL and hamstring issues. These injuries caused the seven-year veteran to miss six games. But the UTEP alum proved effective when available, finishing the season surging. Returning to action in Week 14, the former fifth-round pick closed the season with five consecutive 100-yard rushing performances. This counted two in the playoffs, springing the Packers past the Cowboys and nearly upsetting the No. 1-seeded 49ers six days later. Jones’ veteran presence certainly helped a Packer team reliant on nothing but first- or second-year pass catchers.

AJ Dillon is coming off a sluggish contract year, being set to hit free agency at a bad time — as a crowded RB market is set to form. Jones being released — a move that would come with $12MM in dead money without a post-June 1 designation — would send him to a market that could well house Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, Derrick Henry, Austin Ekeler, Tony Pollard and D’Andre Swift. Dillon is unlikely to secure a lucrative deal on this market. The Packers losing Jones would also create a major need, albeit at a position that is among the easiest to fill.

Additionally, Gutekunst made an effort to cool down Jaire Alexander trade rumors. The longtime Packers GM said, via Schneidman, no consideration is being given to trading Alexander. Following Alexander’s coin-toss fiasco that led to a one-game suspension, a report injected doubt about the highly paid cornerback’s Wisconsin future. The Packers owe Alexander an $8MM roster bonus on March 20.

The Packers gave Alexander a four-year, $84MM extension — one that remains the NFL’s high-water AAV mark for corners — in 2022 but have seen the former first-round pick miss extensive time due to injuries over the past three seasons. After a shoulder malady cost Alexander most of the 2021 season, he missed 10 games this year. That and the costly contract dent Alexander’s trade value. That said, Pro Football Focus rated the six-year veteran in the top 25 at the position this season.

Aaron Rodgers Eyeing Trade For Davante Adams; Other Packers On Jets’ Radar?

The Jets are officially retaining Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh; they are expected to keep OC Nathaniel Hackett as well. Jets decision to run back this trio would not go over well with a notable sect of the fanbase. The team is riding the longest playoff drought in major North American sports, but ownership is prepared to give the group a pass after Aaron Rodgers‘ Achilles tear sank this season.

With Rodgers having what certainly appears to be considerable say in the Jets’ decision-making, it should then be expected the team will listen to him regarding 2024 personnel moves. Already pegged as being prepared to pursue Davante Adams in 2024, the Jets look certain to make a genuine pursuit to reunite Rodgers with his former No. 1 Packers target. The Raiders wide receiver appears on Rodgers’ 2024 watch list, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes.

[RELATED: Jets Keeping GM Joe Douglas, HC Robert Saleh]

Rodgers’ 2023 wish list should probably give the Jets pause about more acquisitions driven by their quarterback. Allen Lazard went from signing an $11MM-per-year contract (with $22MM fully guaranteed, most among free agent wideouts this offseason) to being a healthy scratch for a game this season. After producing a career-high 788 receiving yards with the 2022 Packers, Lazard has 311 this season. Randall Cobb has four catches this season, and Dalvin Cook‘s $7MM contract has produced little. But an Adams addition would present a much higher floor.

The Raiders also continue to be linked to considering a trade. With the power brokers that signed off on the Adams trade (Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler) gone, ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano indicates there is a strong chance either the Raiders or Adams determines by the 2024 offseason this partnership should end after two years.

Adams, who turns 31 today, is 32 yards away from his fifth 1,000-yard season. A first-team All-Pro three years running, Adams has taken a step back this season. Voicing frustration about his role in the Raiders’ offense this year, Adams will likely finish well shy of his 1,516-yard 2022 showing in Las Vegas. With the Raiders closer to rebuilding after the ousters of McDaniels, Ziegler and OC Mick Lombardi, Adams could well be traded for the second time in three years.

It would cost the Raiders $23.6MM in dead money to trade Adams before June 1 of next year. Though new regimes are not as concerned with accumulating dead money associated with players previous staffs brought in, Champ Kelly is firmly on the radar to be retained as the Raiders’ full-time GM. Kelly was in place as assistant GM when the Raiders traded first- and second-round picks for Adams in March 2022. While Adams remains a high-end wideout, it would likely not cost as much for the Jets to pry him from the Raiders as it did for Las Vegas to obtain the then-franchise-tagged target.

More Packers may be on Rodgers’ 2024 list as well. The quarterback is a strong Aaron Jones backer, Cimini adds, and his friendship with David Bakhtiari is well documented. The Packers will likely release Bakhtiari after another injury-abbreviated season. The Jets need help at tackle and were briefly linked to a Bakhtiari pursuit this summer, but the 32-year-old blocker’s injury trouble since his New Year’s Eve 2020 ACL tear will limit his market.

It is unclear if the Packers will jettison Jones, though they would be tagged with barely $5MM in dead money if they designated the talented veteran as a post-June 1 cut. Jones joined Adams in being one of the Packers’ best skill-position players during Rodgers’ tenure, but he remains valuable to the team. Though, one season remains on Jones’ reworked contract. And the Packers pivoted heavily toward a youth movement in the wake of the Rodgers trade. AJ Dillon is unsigned for 2024. With Cook almost definitely not coming back and Michael Carter being waived recently, the Jets will be looking for a new Breece Hall backup.

Rodgers’ influence and importance to the Jets may lead to a significant say in 2024 personnel moves, but he is officially shut down for the 2023 season. His comeback from September Achilles surgery falling short still led to the Jets using an IR activation. Rodgers is believed to have resisted such a move, per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, since he now takes up a roster spot despite not factoring into the team’s gameday plans. Douglas and Saleh made the push to activate Rodgers so he can continue practicing.

Packers’ Aaron Jones Dealing With MCL Sprain

The Packers were shorthanded in the backfield to close out their Week 11 win, and they appear to be on track to not have Aaron Jones in the fold in the immediate future. Green Bay’s lead back is dealing with an MCL sprain, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Jones is considered week-to-week as a result of the injury he picked up during Sunday’s win over the Chargers. While nothing has been completely ruled out at this point, the news makes is highly unlikely Jones will be available for the Packers’ upcoming Thanksgiving game against the Lions. In the wake of third-string back Emanuel Wilson going down in Week 11 as well, Green Bay has added a couple of depth RB options.

The Packers brought back Patrick Taylor by signing him off the Patriots’ practice squad yesterday. They also added James Robinson to the taxi squad once again, giving them a pair of familiar faces in time for Thursday’s game in the event Jones is unable to suit up. If that turns out to be the case, the latter will have missed four games this season, after a hamstring ailment cost him a trio of contests earlier in the year.

Jones has had a down year so far, averaging a career-low 3.7 yards per carry. The 28-year-old has received double-digit carries only twice this season and eclipsed 70 rushing yards once. Those struggles – which of course can be explained to a degree by Green Bay’s injury woes along the offensive line – have contributed to the Packers’ poor overall showing on the ground. The team currently sits 21st in the NFL with an average of 102 rushing yards per game.

Head coach Matt LaFleur indicated (via Matt Schneidman of The Athletic) he does not think Jones will require a stint on injured reserve. Being placed on IR would require an absence of at least four weeks, so avoiding such a scenario would leave the door open to a return in the near future. Still, missing Jones for any length of time will deal a blow to the Packers’ Jordan Love-led offense, a unit which has struggled to find consistent production in 2023.

Presuming Jones misses at least Green Bay’s Week 12 matchup, AJ Dillon will serve as the team’s lead back against the Lions. The latter has also been less efficient than normal this season, but he will be counted on to shoulder an increased workload in at least the short term.

NFL Injury Roundup: Packers, Bosa, Becton

The Packers were down to just one healthy running back today when both starting running back Aaron Jones and undrafted rookie third-stringer Emanuel Wilson were ruled out of today’s win over the Chargers after both sustained injuries in the team’s final drive of the first half.

After Jones exited the game with a knee injury, Green Bay’s big-bodied AJ Dillon came in to take over for Jones. A few plays later, Wilson came in to spell Dillon for two plays. On the second play, Wilson was pushed out of bounds, where he sustained the injury that would hold him out for the remainder of the contest. While not very effective, Dillon would take over the rushing load for the rest of the day. The rushing game did get a little extra boost thanks to a 32-yard touchdown run from wide receiver Jayden Reed before the two backs were knocked out.

After the game had ended, head coach Matt LaFleur told reporters that he didn’t believe the injury to Jones’ knee would be a long-term ailment, according to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic. If Jones or Wilson are forced to miss any time, though, the only in-house option is rookie practice squad running back Ellis Merriweather.

Here are a couple other injury updates from today’s games:

  • Chargers star pass rusher Joey Bosa was ruled out of today’s loss to the Packers with a foot injury. It was a dire-looking scene as Bosa was carted off the sideline in tears. While no official diagnosis has been released, Bosa was seen on the sideline later with crutches and a walking boot on his right foot, per The Athletic’s Daniel Popper.
  • In the afternoon slate, the Jets got off to a rough start in their divisional matchup when starting left tackle Mekhi Becton left the game, walking gingerly off the field on the team’s third drive. He would eventually be carted off to the locker room for further evaluation, per Brian Costello of the New York Post. According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Becton was ruled out for the remainder of the game with a suspected high ankle sprain.

Packers Place LT David Bakhtiari On IR

Still dealing with knee trouble, David Bakhtiari will return to injured reserve. The Packers will be without their All-Pro blind-sider for at least four games, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero report. The Packers have since announced the IR placement.

Bakhtiari has not played since Week 1. Because this transaction is taking place before Green Bay’s Week 4 game, Bakhtiari would be eligible to return in Week 8. But it is far from a lock he will be able to do so, with Rapoport indicating the 11th-year veteran may need more time to come back this year — if, in fact, a return is in the cards.

Bakhtiari, who will turn 32 on Saturday, has undergone three knee surgeries since his New Year’s Eve 2020 ACL tear. That injury effectively threw the highly paid blocker’s career off course. He only returned for a handful of snaps during the 2021 season and missed six games last year, though an appendectomy contributed to his 2022 missed-games ledger. Prior to the seminal 2020 setback — one that played a significant role in the Packers’ Super Bowl LV push falling just short — Bakhtiari had never missed more than four games in a season.

Matt LaFleur said Bakhtiari experienced swelling in his surgically repaired knee before Week 2. The fifth-year Green Bay HC had previously declined to comment on Bakhtiari playing on FieldTurf; the veteran has been a vocal opponent of the surface. But Bakhtiari also missed the Packers’ home opener at Lambeau Field, putting to rest the speculation his Week 2 absence was field surface-related.

It is safe to say Bakhtiari’s career is now at a crossroads. The Packers are certainly a better team when the four-time Pro Bowler is available, but this is the third season in which knee trouble will lead to a lengthy absence. The Packers are also down Elgton Jenkins to a knee injury. Jenkins joined Bakhtiari in missing much of the 2021 season, having suffered an ACL tear himself. But Jenkins recovered from his severe injury on time and has since signed a lucrative Packers extension. Jenkins has been out since suffering an MCL sprain in Week 1. The fifth-year guard does not expect this injury to force an IR stint, ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky notes.

Rasheed Walker has primarily replaced Bakhtiari at left tackle. While the Packers were able to get by without both Bakhtiari and Jenkins en route to home-field advantage in 2021, Aaron Rodgers being in MVP form propped up that effort. Jordan Love being without his best two O-linemen will obviously hinder the cause early in his starter run, though the Rodgers successor managed to eke out a shorthanded win over the Saints last week.

The Packers are also expected to have two of their skill-position pillars back against the Lions tonight. Aaron Jones is set to return from his hamstring injury, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero, who adds Christian Watson is on track to make his season debut after missing three weeks due to a hamstring ailment.

NFC North Notes: Fields, Pack, Vikes, Lions

Going into the Combine, the Bears are leaning toward keeping Justin Fields in place at quarterback. They are viewed as likely to trade out of the No. 1 overall draft slot, and Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports reinforces that the rebuilding team is leaning against exiting the first round with a quarterback. Fields finished a historically successful season as a running quarterback, but significant questions remain about his potential as a passer. The Bears will still meet with just about every top quarterback at the Combine, Jones adds, noting questions also exist about whether the team view this draft class as having a QB option head and shoulders above Fields. While the belief is Fields will have a shot at a third season in Chicago, questions will persist until the Bears trade the pick. Doing so would make them the first team to move out of the No. 1 spot since the Titans did so in 2016.

Here is the latest from the NFC North:

  • Aaron JonesPackers restructure will ensure he plays a seventh season in Green Bay — rare territory for modern Packers backs — and it will create considerable cap space for the team. Jones’ cap figure will drop from $20MM to $8.2MM, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com tweets. Jones’ base salary will drop from $8.1MM to $1.1MM. Jones took a $5MM salary cut in exchange for a $8.5MM signing bonus, keeping him tied to the four-year, $48MM extension he inked before free agency in 2021. In 2024, the final year of Jones’ deal, Demovsky adds (via Twitter) his cap number will rise from $16MM to $17.7MM. The void years from Jones’ 2022 restructure remain on the contract.
  • Shifting to another 2017 running back draftee still on his second contract, Dalvin Cook will miss time this offseason because of shoulder surgery. The Pro Bowl Vikings back, whom Adam Schefter of ESPN.com notes underwent surgery this month, played shoulder pain for the past three-plus seasons, initially injuring it in 2019. Cook, 27, suffered a broken shoulder in 2019 and missed time in 2019 and 2021 as a result; he played all 18 Vikings games last season but battled a shoulder dislocation he sustained in Week 3. This surgery will likely knock Cook out for much of the offseason, with the Vikings announcing he is expected to make a full recovery “by the start of the regular season.” Two years remain on Cook’s five-year, $63MM contract.
  • Dalvin Tomlinson‘s two-year Vikings pact was set to void last week, but the team bought more time on this front. The Vikes pushed Tomlinson’s void date to March 15 — Day 1 of the 2023 league year — according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). This keeps $7.5MM from hitting Minnesota’s cap, though that amount will move onto the payroll if no extension is reached by March 15. If an extension occurs before that date, the Vikings will only be charged with $2.5MM in dead money, Yates tweets.
  • If Tomlinson does return, he will be a part of another 3-4 scheme. Minnesota had gone decades in a 4-3 alignment, but new DC Brian Flores confirmed (via the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson) the 3-4 look installed under previous leader Ed Donatell will remain in place. Although teams’ increased sub-package usage diminishes the importance of base sets, this is certainly notable given how long the Vikes were a 4-3 team prior to 2022, when their switch yielded disastrous results.
  • Shaun Dion Hamilton will move up from defensive assistant to the Lions‘ assistant linebackers coach, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Hamilton is just 27, being one of the Lions’ cuts last summer, but moved quickly into coaching. Rather than hit the workout circuit, the former Washington sixth-round draftee opted to enter coaching early.
  • The Packers‘ run of extensions last offseason included executive VP Russ Ball, Demovsky tweets. Green Bay quietly extended Matt LaFleur and GM Brian Gutekunst, and Ball — a veteran cap guru elevated during the same offseason Gutekunst took over as GM — remains a key part of the franchise’s equation. Ball, 63, has been a critical part of the Pack’s front office since 2008.

Packers, Aaron Jones Agree To Restructure

The four-year, $48MM contract Aaron Jones agreed to in 2021 pointed to a 2023 restructure, and the Packers indeed showed interest in keeping their veteran running back in the fold. They completed that restructure Friday morning to avoid a separation.

Jones took a $5MM cut in salary in exchange for an $8.52MM signing bonus, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The talented back’s $20MM cap number will be reduced — as GM Brian Gutekunst hinted it would be last month — and the sides will stay together for a seventh season.

In addition to ensuring Jones stays in Green Bay for his age-29 season, this agreement will end with the UTEP product earning $11MM in salary in 2023. Jones’ previous cap hit was set to lead all running backs in 2023 by nearly $4MM, making it a seemingly untenable number for the Packers, who will keep their Jones-AJ Dillon tandem intact for a fourth season. Jones confirmed the news (via Twitter). Dillon’s rookie contract expires after the 2023 season.

This marks the second straight offseason the Packers have restructured Jones’ deal. The team tacked on two void years to the starter’s deal to create 2022 cap space. The contract still runs through 2024.

Due to this bonus conversion, Jones’ 2021-23 earnings ($31MM) as of now trail only Christian McCaffrey among running backs, Schefter adds (on Twitter). This comes despite Jones receiving only $13MM guaranteed at signing — 11th at the position. The $8.52MM signing bonus will replace the $7MM roster bonus that was due next month, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com adds. In doing so, the Packers reduced Jones’ cap hit.

The Packers let Jamaal Williams walk in 2021, leading to a Lions accord, and prioritized Jones. This has continued a fruitful partnership between the NFC North franchise and a former fifth-round pick. Jones led the NFL in touchdowns in 2019, with 19, and made the Pro Bowl in 2020. Despite the Packers’ offensive regression this past season, Jones totaled 1,516 yards from scrimmage — the second-most of his career.

A Packers team that had not enjoyed too much continuity at running back over the past decade and change has seen Jones provide it. Jones’ seventh Packers season will match Ahman Green‘s tenure (2000-06). If Jones can match his 17 starts from 2022, he would tie Green for 91 during his career. Green is the only modern-era Packers back to outflank Jones for starts presently. The latter could pass Paul Hornung in franchise history this season as well; Jim Taylor‘s 104 lead all Packers ball-carriers.

Packers GM Addresses QB Situation

Delivering an earlier-than-usual autopsy of the Packers’ season, Brian Gutekunst addressed what has already become a third straight offseason of Aaron Rodgers-driven uncertainty.

The sixth-year Packers GM said Jordan Love is “definitely” ready to play, indicating (via The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman, on Twitter) the three-year backup is “chomping at the bit” to become the team’s starter. When asked which quarterback would give the Packers the best chance to win next season, Gutekunst deferred to Rodgers’ four MVP honors.

[RELATED: Matt LaFleur Wants Rodgers Back In 2023]

Once the object of Rodgers ire, Gutekunst earned his way back into the future Hall of Famer’s good graces to close out a turbulent 2021. Rodgers ended up signing a three-year, $150.8MM extension in March 2022. That record-setting contract does give the Packers some flexibility, allowing a $58MM bonus to be paid at any point in 2023. That opens the door for a trade, and Rodgers said last week his Green Bay future may not be entirely up to him. Rodgers, 39, looks to also be considering retirement.

Gutekunst did not entertain the prospect of a Rodgers trade when asked about it Friday and said he can see a scenario in which Rodgers and Love are on the roster together for a fourth season, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein tweets. The Packers have received criticism for using a first-round pick on Love and sitting him for three seasons, effectively squandering the rookie-contract resource that has been so valuable to teams who have taken first-round QBs since the 2011 CBA reshaped rookie deals. The Packers must decide on Love’s fully guaranteed fifth-year option in May.

Love is on Green Bay’s payroll at $3.94MM for 2023; Rodgers would check in with a $31.62MM cap number. Unless the Packers trade Rodgers or he retires, the team could conceivably run back a Rodgers-Love depth chart for a fourth straight year. Given how far the team has pushed the Love apprenticeship, it would make sense to — NFL norms be damned — extend that into 2023. But the Packers’ QB depth chart is not yet certain. Gutekunst said (via Silverstein, on Twitter) he wants both players back and that Rodgers will take his time and regularly communicate with the team.

Rodgers fell off the MVP perch this season, with the Packers’ controversial strategy at wide receiver impacting the superstar QB’s performance. Gutekunst said as much Friday, indicating (via Silverstein) the Davante Adams trade played a role in Rodgers’ numbers dipping in 2022. Thumb and rib injuries plagued Rodgers this season as well, leading to Love making an intriguing cameo in Philadelphia. The Packers staying in the NFC wild-card race kept Love on the bench. QBR was particularly harsh on Rodgers, dropping him from first (in 2021) to 26th. Trade interest would undoubtedly come, were the Packers to consider it this time around. They resisted Broncos interest in 2021, and Rodgers decided to stay in Green Bay via the extension last year.

Regardless of Rodgers’ status, Gutekunst said restructures are a near-certainty. Early projections have the Packers at $13MM over the 2023 cap, though the 2023 salary ceiling has not yet been finalized. Gutekunst expects both Aaron Jones and David Bakhtiari to return next season as well (Twitter links via Schenidman and ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky).

Jones’ cap number balloons to $5.9MM to $20MM next season; a restructure would knock that down while adding to future cap figures. Bakhtiari’s cap figure will spike from $13.4MM to $29.1MM. While the All-Pro left tackle returned to action this season, the knee trouble that shelved him in 2021 limited him to 11 games this season. Bakhtiari, who has missed 30 games since the 2020 season (counting playoff tilts), said recently he does not intend to retire.

Packers WR Romeo Doubs Suffers High Ankle Sprain

The Packers have received another set of updates regarding more of their injured players from yesterday’s loss to the Lions. Wideout Romeo Doubs is the latest at that position to be headed for an extended absence.

[RELATED: Packers’ Gary Tears ACL]

The fourth-round rookie suffered a high ankle sprain on Sunday, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). While more testing will be needed to confirm an exact timeline for his return, the news is likely to keep him sidelined for between four and six weeks. Assuming that is the case, the Packers will be even more shorthanded at the position.

Green Bay was already without veteran Randall Cobb, who is currently on IR. He, like nearly every other Packers receiver, has missed at least some time during the season, one in which the team’s offense has struggled mightily to find a rhythm in the passing game. Doubs had been the only WR who suited up for every game prior to this injury.

The 6-2, 200-pounder put himself on the NFL draft radar with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to close out his college career at Nevada. Part of an infusion of young talent at the position alongside Christian Watson, Doubs has managed 314 yards and three touchdowns in his rookie campaign. He ranks second on the team in receiving yards amongst wideouts, and third overall.

Given the team’s struggles on offense, Green Bay was involved in discussions to bring in notable additions at last week’s trade deadline. They offered a second-rounder to the Steelers for Chase Claypool, but found themselves runners-up to the Bears on that front. It was reported yesterday that they also tried to land tight end Darren Waller, and put a first-rounder on the table for the Panthers in their attempt to acquire wideout D.J. Moore. With nothing materializing, though, the team’s shorthanded group of in-house options will continue to be relied on.

In more positive news, running back Aaron Jones appears to have avoided any major injury. Testing on his ankle – which required him to wear a walking boot after the game – came back negative, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). As a result, he should be able to practice this week and play on Sunday against the Cowboys. A strong running game will be crucial moving forward, with another key piece of Green Bay’s passing attack unavailable.

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.