The Green Bay Packers have some important decisions to make this offseason on potential free agents. One of those concerns running back A.J. Dillon. Today we examine why the Packers should or should not bring Dillon back in 2024.

Why the Packers Should Re-Sign A.J. Dillon

Dillon has provided the Packers with reliable production as their second option at running back. Since he joined the Packers in 2020, he has been in the lineup and ready to play. He only missed two games in the last three seasons and that was due to a broken thumb he suffered late in this season.

The former Boston College star has great size at 6’0” and 247-pounds. He has huge quads and is difficult to bring down one-on-one.

In addition, Dillon’s style of running is a good compliment to starter Aaron Jones. Jones is an elusive, cutback runner with great speed. Dillon is more of a between-the-tackles runner who can pick up the tough yards inside.

Dillon gained more than 600 yards in each of the last three seasons despite not being the team’s primary back. He also has a career average of 4.1-yards per attempt.

While Dillon was not asked to catch many passes in college, he has proven to be a reliable receiver with the Packers. His catch percentage this year was 78.6, right around his career number of 78.2.

Dillon has also been an excellent teammate. He’s also been very involved in the community and in charity work.

Why the Packers Should Not Re-Sign A.J. Dillon

Dillon may only turn 26 before the start of next season but he has a lot of miles on his tires. He carried the ball 845 times in three seasons at Boston College.

In the pros, Dillon’s production has dropped in each of the last three seasons. He gained 803 yards in 2021, 770 in 2022 and 613 yards this past season. His yards per carry has also gone down from 4.3 to 4.1 to 3.4 in each of the last three campaigns.

In late 2022 and early 2023, Dillon admitted he was not hard enough to bring down. His pad level was too high, and he wasn’t running as hard as he had been previously. That improved by the midpoint of the season.

Dillon also lacks elusiveness. He will gain the available yards that are there, but he won’t make something out of nothing. Dillon is not dynamic and rarely breaks off long runs. He’s efficient and reliable but not special.

What A.J. Dillon Would Cost

Cost may be the biggest reason Dillon won’t be back with the Packers. Dillon’s rookie contract has ended, and he will be looking for a bigger contract than the $1.68 million he earned last season. He can expect to earn at least $3.5 million next season plus a sizeable signing bonus.

Packers GM Brian Gutekunst will likely draft at least one running back in 2024. Based on Gutekunst’s comments after the season ended, the team will likely bring Jones back even if it means restructuring his contract. Jones will be 30 next season and isn’t likely to play many more seasons. While Jones is playing well when healthy, running backs tend to lose it quickly and that could happen to Jones at any time. He also struggles to stay healthy and isn’t built to carry the ball 20 times per game for 17 games plus playoffs.

The Packers also have second-year man Emanuel Wilson returning next year. Wilson showed potential in the preseason but saw action in only seven games due to injury. He averaged 6.1-yards per carry but ran the ball just 14 times all season. The former Fort Valley State star also caught four passes for 23 yards.

Dillon has been a good Packer and emotionally, the team would love to have him back. But they can replace him for less money with a player who should have less wear and tear on his body.

While Dillon is a good player, it is unlikely he returns to Green Bay in 2024.




Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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