The Green Bay Packers have a completely new look on offense this season. New quarterback, new group of receivers, new tight ends. Does the trend continue next year with the running back group? The 2023 53-man roster hasn’t even been decided yet, so naturally my thoughts lie with what the position may look like in 2024.
The two who are certain to make the team this year are Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, with possibly a third in either Patrick Taylor or Emanuel Wilson. While one of these guys is technically under contract for next year, there is a world in which none of these players are on the team in 2024. Here’s a look at each player’s 2024 status:
Aaron Jones: Under contract, cap hit of $17,717,000
AJ Dillon: Unrestricted free agent
Patrick Taylor: Restricted free agent
Emanuel Wilson: Exclusive rights free agent
It seems like we bid Aaron Jones adieu every season, only for the Packers to find a way to keep him on the team. Is there a world in which Jones is on the roster next season, which he’d begin at the age of 29? Sure! If there’s anyone who can maneuver that contract and make some wiggle room, it’s that squirrelly little magician Russ Ball (he isn’t human.) Unlike what we’ve seen from other running backs in their late twenties, I certainly think Jones is going to be capable of playing at a high level next season, thanks to Mike McCarthy’s conservative use of him during his first two years in the league. Where he plays seems to be the big mystery.
AJ Dillon has made it no secret that his love for Wisconsin runs deep, and me thinks he’d like to remain a Packer next season. I also don’t think it would take much financially to bring him back. The question then becomes: Is he a starting running back? Despite the regression last season, he’s been a reliable number-two back for the team and has looked great in camp this year. However, the man is a bulldozer. The average car lasts about 150,000 miles, but what about the average AJ Dillon? I could see the team bringing him back on a two-year deal, but I don’t know that he’d be anything more than a supporting cast member in the RB room.
Patrick Taylor is a restricted free agent next offseason, and the Packers would have until the start of the league year to tender him. If they choose not to tender Taylor, he can sign wherever he pleases. As an exclusive rights free agent, Emanuel Wilson’s 2024 situation can be treated pretty much the same as Patrick Taylor’s. If either of them makes the team this year, their chances of being a Packer in 2024 become more likely (see above: Aaron Jones’ cap hit.)
You can probably bet a large amount of money (please don’t) that the Packers will use a late draft pick on the position next year, especially if they say goodbye to Aaron Jones and/or AJ Dillon. With only four players aged 30 or older, the Packers are one of the youngest teams in the league this year. Does the RB room continue the trend next year with a group of fresh faces?