At roster cutdowns, the Green Bay Packers poked around on Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, who at the time was having a contract dispute with the Colts. Following the report, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst tamped down expectations that the team would make a move for another running back moving forward, claiming that the team has “a great running back room” and that they were “excited about it.”
Since Gutekunst called the backfield “great,” co-starters Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon have had disappointing first halves of their 2023 seasons, for different reasons. Jones, who is going to command a $17.7 million cap hit next season, has been dealing with a hamstring injury that has limited him to 20 combined carries since leaving Week 1 due to injury. Even Jones’ twin brother — Alvin, a former NFL linebacker — is now openly questioning head coach Matt LaFleur’s usage of the running back.
Dillon, meanwhile, has not been a productive back, as he’s averaged just 3.1 yards per carry and scored just one touchdown on the ground through seven games — including many that saw Jones either off the field entirely or playing on a pitch count. Versus the Minnesota Vikings in Week 8, Dillon took six carries for just 11 yards (1.8 yards per carry.) Dillon is also set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
With all that in mind, Jay Glazer — Fox’s NFL insider — broke some interesting news on Sunday morning, when he announced on the channel’s pre-game show that the Packers might not be done exploring the trade market for running backs.
After touching on the situations of Tennessee’s Derrick Henry and New York’s Saquon Barkley, Glazer said this:
“There are a lot of teams that are in the running back market. Baltimore, Cleveland, Green Bay is still in the running back market as well. Dallas hasn’t been calling around.”
Will the Packers actually pull the trigger on a new running back or will this be another “Brian Gutekunst was so close to landing X” situation? Should Green Bay even be buyers on the trade market after starting the season 2-5? If the Packers are buying, what does that mean for the job security of the coaching staff and front office?
I’m not sure we have all the answers just yet, but it will be interesting to monitor the trade deadline, now that a credible reporter has stated that the Packers are in the mix for ball carriers. On top of Henry and Barkley, here are a few more running backs who are in the final years of their respective contracts: Tony Pollard (DAL), Austin Ekeler (LAC), D’Andre Swift (PHI), Josh Jacobs (LV) and Dalvin Cook (NYJ).
For those wondering what Green Bay’s cap situation is like, the answer is that they currently have $6.6 million available, per Spotrac. That might not seem like much, but a trade for a running back will likely come with an extension, which means that the contract would probably be significantly backloaded — from a cap perspective.