Packers Facing Tough Decisions at Running Back This Offseason

The Green Bay Packers were very deep at the running back position in 2020 with thousand-yard rusher Aaron Jones, dependable change of pace back Jamaal Williams and big rookie A.J. Dillon all available to carry the football.

But the position is clearly in flux as we head into the offseason. Both Jones and Williams are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents next month unless the Packers sign them to a new contract. With the team under a tight salary cap squeeze and running back being a position the NFL is not placing a high value on these days it is unlikely a deal gets done before free agency begins.

It is possible the Packers try to sign one of the two, but both are likely to get more lucrative offers elsewhere if they go the free agent route. Jones will be one of the most sought after running backs on the market and would probably have to accept a home team discount if he’s going to stay in Green Bay.

In addition to more money, Jamaal Williams may want an opportunity to start if he signs elsewhere. In four NFL seasons, the former BYU star has never carried the ball more than 153 times in a season and that came during his rookie campaign in 2017. He is clearly capable of starting in the right system.

The Packers could try to re-sign Jamaal Williams and have him and Dillon become the new one-two punch on offense, but if Williams can get more money and a chance to have a bigger role elsewhere, it is likely he will take it.

Another option for the Packers is to place the transition tag on Jones which would cost the Packers nearly $9 million in salary. However, that move may make Jones unhappy as he risks injury under a one-year deal with no security and leaves him unable to cash in on a potential year of free agency.

Dillon will be back in 2021 and he’ll be on the second year of his entry-level contract. The big question is whether he is ready to assume the role as the Packers lead running back. There is no doubt the former Boston College star can run the football effectively, but to be a big part of Matt LaFleur’s offense, it is vitally important that a running back be able to run consistent pass routes and to pass block well enough to protect franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Dillon has yet to prove he can block and run routes well enough to claim the starting job although he may get the chance to show he can do the job in training camp.

If neither Jones nor Williams are back, the Packers will have to add more players at the running back position. The other returnees include Dexter Williams who has seven career carries in seven games over two seasons, Tyler Ervin, who has mostly been used as a return specialist and on gadget plays, and undrafted free agents Patrick Taylor and Mike Weber. None of them have extensive NFL playing experience.

The Packers will almost certainly address the running back position in the 2021 NFL Draft. The most likely scenario has them using a mid-round pick on a running back, somewhere between the third and fifth round. Again, the biggest challenges for rookie running backs are learning the playbook and the non-running responsibilities like pass blocking and route running. It is not clear how much of an immediate impact a rookie running back will have other than as a change-of-pace back.

The Packers may also choose to sign a running back in free agency to help fill a role in 2021. There are several options available but none of them are an improvement over the duo of Jones and Williams. As of now, potential free agent running backs include former University of Wisconsin star and New England Patriots runner James White. White is an excellent receiver out of the backfield although he has never carried the ball more than 94 times in a season. His ability as a receiver may make him a useful compliment to Dillon if the team feels he could be a good fit in the Packers offensive system.

Todd Gurley may also be available. Gurley has experience working with LaFleur before as they were together in Los Angeles in 2018. Unfortunately, the three-time 1,000-yard rusher has not been the same since suffering a knee injury in 2018. Gurley can still be a useful runner but his days as dominant All Pro appear to be behind him.

Another option in free agency may be Le’Veon Bell. Bell is a three-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All Pro, but he hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season since 2017 and will be 29 before the end of this month which is considered old for a running back. Bell was let go by the New York Jets this fall and later played for the Chiefs where he had just 63 carries in nine games. It is doubtful Bell could be a lead back anymore at this stage in his career but he could be a useful backup runner and receiver out of the backfield.

Malcolm Brown is also expected to be available on the free agent market. Like Gurley, he played under LaFleur in 2018 with the Rams. Brown had 101 carries this season for 419 yards. Both were career highs. He will be 28 before the start of the next season and has never been a lead back in his six seasons with the Rams.

The Packers have some hard decisions to make at the running back position this offseason and none of them will be easy. The running game is a key component of the Packers offense and they will need it to be there in 2021 if they hope to continue to have an elite attack. GM Brian Gutekunst has some critical choices to make and how they turn out will go a long way to determining the success of the Green Bay offense next season.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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4 points

Comments (59)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
splitpea1's picture

February 11, 2021 at 12:36 pm

Of course a rookie back can have an immediate impact. Jonathan Taylor and Edwards-Helaire had impressive first seasons in 2020. Now I doubt we'll be drafting one that high, so hopefully the right one will be available a little further down.

I think White would be an excellent addition if the team cannot sign Jones or Williams. Another veteran would be very helpful, as the lower end of the depth chart doesn't inspire enormous confidence at this point.

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 12:37 pm

I'm concerned about depth as well if both Jones and Williams depart. The key for rookie RBs contributing in LaFleur's offense is pass blocking and receiving so it's a bit of a challenge at first, but far from impossible. Thanks as always for commenting, splitpea1.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

February 11, 2021 at 12:34 pm

Very succinct look at a difficult situation. While it makes no sense to dwell in the past, it is unfortunate that the Packers had not 1 but 2 starting caliber backs and we're unable to secure either for a longer deal before the 2020 season.

I am hopeful Dillon is using this off-season to refine his game to be able to be a potential 3 down back if the situation calls for it, but I think it is a safe conclusion the Packers RB stable for 2021 will be Dillon and 2-3 players who were not Packers in 2020.

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 12:39 pm

I agree the RB room will look very different in 2021. I would love to see one of the potential UFAs re-sign in Green Bay but I can't say I'm optimistic. Thanks for the comment, mattgsx.

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Stroh's picture

February 11, 2021 at 06:29 pm

Williams is NOT a starting caliber RB. Very good backup and has a role, but he's not a starting NFL RB.

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 06:53 pm

I think he could start for some teams. There are very few workhorse backs in the league any more. Williams is a quality NFL back either way. Thanks for the comment, Stroh.

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Stroh's picture

February 11, 2021 at 08:18 pm

Williams is a JAG. Very limited running ability. Gets only what is blocked nothing more. His best traits are blocking abd a reliable receiver. But job #1 for a RB is running ability and in that aspect Williams is below average.

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ricky's picture

February 11, 2021 at 12:48 pm

The FA's mentioned are either retreads or will be pretty expensive (White). Going with a draft pick would seem to be the better route. Hopefully Williams can be re-signed, but Jones is probably gone. And will probably be less effective in a different system with a worse OL and QB to offer him support. JMO. Simply put, you don't overpay for a RB. It very seldom works out. Change is constant in the NFL.

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 01:02 pm

You're right ricky, change is a constant, especially in the salary cap/free agency era. A draft pick is almost certain as I said in the article, but I think they'll add an inexpensive veteran also. I would love to see Williams back or Jones if it's possible, but I doubt either returns. Thanks for the comment.

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PatrickGB's picture

February 11, 2021 at 12:56 pm

I would not be surprised if the team drafted a couple of running backs this year. GB offered Jones a very good contract and his agent turned them down. So, I think that the team goes with what they can afford and maybe waits till the last minute to pick up a veteran discard from another team. What we saw from the 2019-2020 team can not be replaced or repeated. So I expect a different offense with more TE and hybrid players lining up. Perhaps more with Deguria and Lovett and two RB type sets. However, if a draft pick shines in a Jones type role then that might change a bit. In any case the offense will have to adapt and will be different from what we have seen these last few years with Jones. Perhaps more ground and pound will be in order.

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 01:06 pm

Things will be very different, PatrickGB, no doubt about it. I think your scenario of drafting two RBs is possible, I expect at least one in the middle rounds and one in the late if that's how it plays out. What we don't know right now far outweighs what we know, but the 2021 running back room will be very different than it was in 2020. Thanks as always for the comment.

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CheesyTex's picture

February 11, 2021 at 01:50 pm

Interesting thoughts Patrick. If the draft goes as you suspect, it sure would be nice to see the backs drafted have killer speed to complement what is already there.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

February 11, 2021 at 02:21 pm

Agreed with that. Dillon is much closer to Eddie Lacy than he is to Jones. A James White kind of player would be very valuable in this offense.

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 06:55 pm

Speed kills and the Pack needs a RB with speed to replace Jones if he leaves. Thanks for the comment, CheesyTex.

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Stroh's picture

February 11, 2021 at 06:46 pm

Drafting Dillon and Deguara is a clear indication the offense is moving in a different direction. Dillon is an every down RB and they would like to pair Jones w/ him. If they lose him they'll find one similar in FA or more likely the draft. They might try to sign Willliams if they do lose Jones as a vet backup and role player. But they die was cast when Dillon and Deguara were drafted for sure.

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 06:56 pm

I agree. I think Dillon was drafted in part because Gute knew both Jones and Williams were UFAs this offseason. It was good anticipation to select a potential replacement and give him a year to learn the system before counting on him in year 2. Thanks for commenting, Stroh.

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SierraSam's picture

February 11, 2021 at 01:04 pm

You have finally a running back core that is working, and now have to dismantal that. There is a great chemistry that will be lost. How many years will it take to replace. Dillon will be a good back, but not as good as we have now.

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 01:08 pm

It is very disappointing to see quality RBs and quality people like Jones and Williams go. I would love to see one of them return but I'm not optimistic. I think Dillon could develop into a very good back but his style is very different than either Jones or Williams so the offense will have to adjust accordingly. Will be an interesting offseason. Thanks for the comment, SierraSam.

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Leatherhead's picture

February 11, 2021 at 02:20 pm

This is the other side of free agency, Gil. If you sign FAs like Smith and Smith and Amos and Turner and Wagner and Kirksey then you don’t have money to retain your own. This is what we wanted. This is what we bitched at Ted Thompson about.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 06:57 pm

Absolutely true Leatherhead. That doesn't make it any easier, but it is reality and as they say, it's time to pay the piper. Thanks for commenting.

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PF4L's picture

February 11, 2021 at 02:39 pm

SierraSam is right on top of it.
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It is great chemistry. This will change the look of the offense. It won't be as smooth for awhile.
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Rodgers will lose one of the best centers in the game, and maybe both of his backs. It's back to square one in training, building rapport, timing, and blocking in the running game. Not to mention the new guys learning all the plays nd nuances.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

February 11, 2021 at 03:03 pm

Ugh. Visions of Rodgers having to waste the play clock to line Christine Michael up just danced in my head.

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 06:58 pm

Well, on the bright side, Dillon has a year under his belt and isn't starting from scratch. Hope the transition isn't too tough but it's a definitely a concern. Thanks for the comment, PF4L.

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PF4L's picture

February 12, 2021 at 08:03 am

Dillon has limited snaps, he added value during injury.
He might not be starting from scratch technically, but if he is to be a 3 down back he has a lot to learn in blocking assignments, catching the ball smoothly, building rapport with the line and Rodgers.

Expectations should be high. He's a 2nd rounder replacing a 5th rounder who has pretty big shows to fill.

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dobber's picture

February 11, 2021 at 03:45 pm

Such is the reality of modern salary cap football.

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 07:22 pm

Absolutely true, dobber. You have great days when you sign new free agents and difficult days when players you want to keep cannot be re-signed.Thanks for commenting.

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Stroh's picture

February 11, 2021 at 06:49 pm

Not dismantle it. They've tried to resign Jones. The fact they might leave in FA is not dismantling, its simply a fact. If they lose Jones they'll draft a RB similar to take some load off Dillon and provide a thunder/lightening RB group. Its the NFL and RB are a dime a dozen.

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 07:25 pm

Amazing how times have changed. In the 70s and 80s, you built your offense around a star RB. Now, they are devalued by the league. Such is life. Thanks for commenting, Stroh.

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PF4L's picture

February 18, 2021 at 08:24 am

Well.....i'm not about to include (5th round) Aaron Jones in the "dime a dozen" running back crowd. I think that's an insult to him.
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If RB's are a dime a dozen, why did Gute draft a rb in the 2nd round, instead of a receiver, or a corner?

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PF4L's picture

February 18, 2021 at 04:08 pm

I got a thumbs down? Sweet
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lol...i guess i've been told huh?
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Thank you all for your thumbs down people, it's important we recognize the intellectually challenged, not just those who are able to formulate and express an actual opinion for themselves other than a ....thumbs down.

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Bear's picture

February 11, 2021 at 01:31 pm

Gil, Weber was drafted by Dallas.

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 07:26 pm

Thanks, Bear.

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Bruiser's picture

February 11, 2021 at 01:38 pm

Draft a RB.

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 07:27 pm

Pretty confident they'll draft at least one, Bruiser especially if they can't keep Jones and Williams. Thanks for commenting.

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nostradanus's picture

February 11, 2021 at 03:49 pm

Most likely Jones & Williams are both gone, though I expect the Packers to make a run at Jones. The good news is that Dillon looks like the “work horse” back the Packers have been looking for since Lacy ate his way out of GB. The other good news is that there are plenty of good backs to be had in the mid-rounds “see: Chuba Hubbard” and rookie backs can contribute immediately and cheaply. The Packers also have Mike Webster on the PS, check out his Ohio State highlights on YouTube he’s legit. Jones & Williams will be missed if they go but the Packers offensive juggernaut will continue as long as #12 MVP is under center.

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CheesyTex's picture

February 11, 2021 at 05:51 pm

"see Chuba Hubbard".

"see locker room nightmare".

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Stroh's picture

February 11, 2021 at 06:55 pm

They've already made their run at Jones. They offered a very good contract, but Jones declined, and wants more guaranteed money. The Packers will not give an injury prone RB very much in guarantees. He can take it or not. If Jones leaves they've probably draft a RB that can provide what Jones could. A little but of lightening to Dillons thunder!

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 07:30 pm

I agree it's unlikely either is back. I hope Dillon is ready for prime time. I know he can run but can he pass protect and run routes? I agree the Pack is likely to draft a RB in the middle rounds and maybe add a FA as well. There will be adjustments, but obviously 12 is the key to the offense. Thanks, nostradanus.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 12, 2021 at 02:22 pm

Hubbard will be gone in the second round. If Patrick Taylor can heal he may contribute. He had a great career @ Memphis

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jtpack1's picture

February 11, 2021 at 04:32 pm

These days with little to no guarantee money any quality position player especially the caliber of Jones is taking a risk regardless of a high dollar contract with no guarantee he'll see that money . The running back’s financial position will continue to lag behind the rest of the offense because teams do not place a premium on running backs as the league continues to embrace the passing game. The NFL has made it virtually impossible for running backs to make financial gains under the current CBA. Aaron Jones has been an exception though. Most teams in the NFL once inside the red zone throw the ball on 1st and 2nd down almost 70% of the time. Aaron Jones has been able to be a valuable receiver in those situations but has been used considerably more as a runner and produced at a high level. Hopefully all of this goes into the considerations before allowing him to ship out. Bottom line is and always will be money so I may just be whistling in the wind.

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Stroh's picture

February 11, 2021 at 07:05 pm

Teams don't place a premium on RB because on 2nd contracts they don't provide the value, especially not for an injury prone RB like Jones. They made their run to try to sign him. They won't offer anymore than they already have. If he leaves there are plenty of RB that can replace Jones. At best he would share the offense w/ Dillon doing the heavy lifting and Jones as a compliment. With Dillon and Jones it would be about a 50/50 split in touches. If they draft a RB to replace Jones it will lean a little heavier toward Dillon.

Jones is the epitome of a RB that you don't give guaranteed money to a RB on a 2nd contract. Smallish and already injury prone before he even got to his 2nd contract. That would only get worse!

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 07:33 pm

Well said, jtpack1. I think Jones will get more money elsewhere and since this is likely to be his only crack at a big free agent deal (relatively speaking) he will probably sign elsewhere. I hate to see him go because I think he is such a great fit in this offense. Thanks for the comment.

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stockholder's picture

February 11, 2021 at 04:55 pm

If Gute wanted Jones, he would have signed him much sooner. But what does he see that we don't? I'm going to trust Gute on the RBs.

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 07:34 pm

fingers crossed that he's right, stockholder. I know an effort was made to sign him but he has changed agents so I doubt it will be easy to keep him. Thanks for the comment.

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Swisch's picture

February 11, 2021 at 05:10 pm

It used to be that running backs in the NFL could make a big impact as rookies, whereas wide receivers usually took a year or two
Perhaps that has changed with increased responsibilities for running backs as far as receiving and blocking
I'm still wondering, though, if the best way to go for the Packers is to take one or two running backs in the draft (at least one of whom is fast and shifty), and hope at least one of them is good to go as a rookie (as in James Starks, or going back a ways, Travis Williams).
Also, there's the question of our running backs on the practice squad, including Dexter Williams. Is he ready to break out?
Then, during training camp, if necessary, we can see if there are any veterans who are available at an affordable price (or try to pick up a younger guy like Ryan Grant).
***
The thing is that the way to go these days in the NFL is running back by a committee of two or three. Like catchers in baseball, it seems these guys perform better for longer if they're not overworked -- even over the course of a season.
That said. we already have A. J. (Armored Jeep) Dillon who looks highly promising as a featured back.
So we only need one more guy to step up to a high level, plus maybe a third who is good as a role player.
***
It doesn't seem there are that many carries at running back for the Packers in any given game.
These guys can be used as receivers, though, but it's still hard to find enough touches for two or three guys.
Maybe MLF will want to run the ball more often, but our main weapon on offense is still the passing game.
If Dillon excels, we're in great shape then.
We just need a couple of other guys to complement Dillon, and in case he gets injured.
It's not going to be easy, but I think we can find a good running corps for next season that is effective enough to keep our offense at an elite level.

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Stroh's picture

February 11, 2021 at 07:09 pm

It changed because colleges are using the passing game much more than in the past. WR are entering the NFL more ready to play. The NFL being a passing league requires RB to be able to block, which didn't use to be a skill they possesed or developed in college. Its now made WR more ready for the NFL, but RB hasn't really changed that much in terms of whats required, except a little more blocking, which teams overlooked if he was a great Runner.

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GilMartin's picture

February 11, 2021 at 07:36 pm

Good analysis Swisch. That's why I would love to keep at least one of the Jones-Williams duo. They are both very good fits in this offense. Dillon excelling and staying healthy is vital. Thanks for the comment.

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Stroh's picture

February 11, 2021 at 06:27 pm

The decisions aren't that difficult really. They were made months ago. They've tried to resign Jones. But it's onky at the numbers the Packers want with really good yearly pay, but not much in guaranteed money. That won't change.

Williams is gone if Jones gets done. If Jones hits FA, they might offer Williams something as a backup, maybe 2-4 yrs 3M per, a decent veteran backup contract.

Its quite possible and probably likely that both leave. In which case the Packers will use a 3rd or 4th on a RB similar to Jones. They might look at a cheap veteran in FA as well if both Jones and Williams leave.

The only difficult part is getting Jones to sign and if not finding the best options in the draft/FA . Like I mentioned these decisions were made months ago, like almost a year ago.

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PF4L's picture

February 11, 2021 at 06:58 pm

The Packers like to draft in 3's, and hope someone sticks.
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2020...3 off. lineman
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2018...3 wide receivers..1 has worked out...52% of the time
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2017...3 running backs...2 worked out pretty damn good, the rest of the draft...not so much.

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Stroh's picture

February 11, 2021 at 07:15 pm

I'm fully aware of how the Packers draft. And drafting 3 of a position is a very small part of it. The Packers draft stategy is very well defined since Ron Wolf took over. Premium positions almost w/o fail at the top, (Rd 1 and sometimes Rd 2.). Less important positions (Interior OL, RB, WR, TE, ILB and non pass rushers in the front 7 all come later and down the list of importance.

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PF4L's picture

February 12, 2021 at 08:26 am

That's great you are fully aware of that. Good job.

Maybe other readers weren't aware of it and they picked it up as new information.

There are other people here that read the comments.

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PF4L's picture

February 13, 2021 at 10:02 am

awe

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Wilment's picture

February 11, 2021 at 08:42 pm

I view jones a bit differently. Packers have no legit slot receiver, and Jones' ability to line up outside or run routes out of the backfield are something that the packers will miss as much as his running. I think the Packers need to find a way to keep one or the other, tough to lose that kind of tandem, and where the packers are going to pick isn't going to get them someone that comes "game ready" with the ability of Jones to change a game with a play (see the sixty yard run to open the second half against the rams).

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Since'61's picture

February 12, 2021 at 09:44 am

If we lose Jones we should make a strong move to retain Williams. We should also resign Ervin who also knows our offense. Then add a draft pick or 2 and sign an FA for depth. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Archie's picture

February 12, 2021 at 01:17 pm

Any middle of the road RB will do well behind a strong OL and complemented by a strong passing attack. As a result, I say move on at RB.

One guy that interest me is the Purdue WR - he has 4.2+ speed, is perfect in the slot and is a top notch KO and P RTN. He is a 3 for 1 guy and he would be good on jet sweeps. Maybe a 4 for 1. However he will likely go late in R1 or early in R2.

Usually when a team hires a new coordinator the top of the draft is used to give him the missing pieces he desires. So I'm expecting GB to take at least 2 DEF players in its first 3 picks. So we may have to wait till R3 or even R4 to take an offensive player.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 12, 2021 at 02:26 pm

Rondale Moore.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

February 12, 2021 at 07:25 pm

Gil, your title of "Packers Facing Tough Decisions at Running Back This Offseason" are exacerbated by the anticipated Cap constraints due to the decreased league wide revenue decline. Gute has perplexing decisions on both sides of the ball. The one positive regarding running backs is that we have a high draft choice waiting in the wings to take the load in the backfield. Both Jones and Williams have been an excellent tandem for the Packers, but to offer second contracts to those players while having Dillon chomping at the bit likely is not in the books for Gute. We are close to 30 million over the anticipated cap and we are going to have pass on resigning some super Packers players and I regret that it will include both Jones and Williams who most all of us would like to remain on the team. To our chagrin we are limited by the NFL cap, but so are all of the other teams. One other thing that may come to pass is that some of the free agents may be disappointed in the amount of money they will be offered compared to how they view their personal value in the league.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

February 12, 2021 at 07:25 pm

Gil, your title of "Packers Facing Tough Decisions at Running Back This Offseason" are exacerbated by the anticipated Cap constraints due to the decreased league wide revenue decline. Gute has perplexing decisions on both sides of the ball. The one positive regarding running backs is that we have a high draft choice waiting in the wings to take the load in the backfield. Both Jones and Williams have been an excellent tandem for the Packers, but to offer second contracts to those players while having Dillon chomping at the bit likely is not in the books for Gute. We are close to 30 million over the anticipated cap and we are going to have pass on resigning some super Packers players and I regret that it will include both Jones and Williams who most all of us would like to remain on the team. To our chagrin we are limited by the NFL cap, but so are all of the other teams. One other thing that may come to pass is that some of the free agents may be disappointed in the amount of money they will be offered compared to how they view their personal value in the league.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

February 14, 2021 at 03:32 pm

I really do not think it is that tough of a decision. The cap is forcing the Packers hands and subsequently I'd like to shuttle A. Jones and down the road pick up a compensatory pick. Ideally, I'd like to see J. Williams stay as I think he will be reasonable cap wise. Dillon is going to be better than anyone we currently have on the roster IMO, and that includes A. Jones. Whether either of our top two RB's (Williams and Jones) are on the team next year the sky certainly is not falling. Gute did a great job in picking Dillon up a year early to prepare for the inevitable departure of our starting RB's. Not only did Dillon get 'some experience' but he did it without getting too banged up. Remember he had a ton of carries in college so backing him off his rookie year sitting behind our other two RB's was likely good.

I am confidant Gute will select a RB in the draft if Williams and Jones both depart, but not before round 5. Dexter Williams has very good potential I believe, and then we already have Ervin. The Pack is in good shape at RB and I certainly have no concerns at this position, particularly if J. Williams is resigned which I think he will be. In the event he is I would not draft a RB and would try selecting another DL or OL after the early round #1 or #2 selections at these positions.

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