The Green Bay Packers have, through four weeks of the 2023 NFL season, one of the worst rushing offenses in the league. Of course, a great deal of their poor production is due to Aaron Jones injuring his hamstring early in the fourth quarter of the Packers’ Week One win over the Chicago Bears. With Jones out, AJ Dillon has been unable to put up numbers on the ground.
To be fair, the Packers’ offensive line also is not very adept at run blocking. Still, the lack of production at the running back position were glaring weaknesses in both of Green Bay’s losses so far this season.
Due to their lack of production at the position, and due to the fact that the futures of both Jones and Dillon are uncertain beyond this season, the Packers were a team that was linked to a possible trade for disgruntled Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor.
Taylor, who is also a former Wisconsin Badgers running back, has not played yet this season after being placed on the PUP list prior to the start of the 2023 NFL season. His feud with owner Jim Irsay over comments regarding paying running backs is well-documented and has spelled the eventual end of Taylor’s tenure with the Colts.
Unfortunately for Green Bay, that eventual ending will not be leading Taylor back home to Wisconsin.
The Green Bay Packers Are Out of the Running for Indianapolis Colts Running Back Jonathan Taylor
According to a report published by Ian Rapoport on NFL.com on Sunday morning, Taylor is returning to practice with the Colts this week as he is eligible to be activated off the PUP list. The report also states that there are several teams that are still interested in trading for the 2021 NFL rushing champion.
Unfortunately, the Packers are not one of those teams. Rapoport wrote:
“The Colts are also open to a trade if they get the right offer. But the two teams known to have made trade offers before the season haven’t engaged recently: The Packers are no longer in the mix, and the Dolphins haven’t spoken to the Colts about trading for Taylor since before the season began, sources say.”
Taylor is in the final year of his rookie contract and is due $4.3 million. He wants a new deal, and early reports stated that the Packers were willing to give him one that would have made him one of the highest paid running backs in the NFL.
The Green Bay Packers Have a Cloudy Future at the Running Back Position
As mentioned previously, the futures of both Jones and Dillon in Green Bay are uncertain. Like Taylor, Dillon is in the final year of his rookie contract. Unfortunately, he has done little so far this year to indicate that he is worthy of a second contract offer from the Packers.
Jones famously took a pay cut in order to remain with the team this season. He is under contract for one more year after the 2023 season, but Green Bay may not want to take on the $17 million cap hit that he will have in 2024. If they were to release him after the season, the Packers would be left with a $12 million dead cap hit, saving them $5 million.
While Jones has been thrilling to watch and is one of the best running backs in Packers history, he is also nearing the end of his second contract and will turn 30 in 2024. Giving third contracts to running backs is something the Packers just don’t do.
Will they make an exception for Jones? They might if he continues to produce and can stay healthy; but the likelihood that they would make him one of their highest paid players is not high.
Which leaves Packers fans wondering who will be in the backfield next season and in future years. The answer to that question will likely be answered in the 2024 NFL Draft.