The Lass Word: Jones/Williams/Dillon....Do We Have to Break Up the Band?

And if so, who was Dillon drafted to replace?

Watching the Green Bay Packers running backs in the Matt LaFleur system is a thing of beauty. Going into the season, we knew how explosive Aaron Jones was, and his improvement as a pass receiver has elevated him to elite status in the NFL.

What we didn't know, at least I didn't, was that back-up Jamal Williams was hard at work during the off season transforming his body, improving his speed and pass catching ability, and developing a little twitch and shiftiness. No longer just the change of pace power runner, Jamal has become number one at being number two. During the Monday night telecast, ESPN analyst Brian Griese called Jones/Williams the best running back combination in the league.

There will be no argument from Matt LaFleur.   "It's so awesome to see guys, when needed, produce, and those guys do", LaFleur said Tuesday.   "Just the work that they put in, and the mentality that they come in with on a daily basis, you're talking about two guys that are totally selfless and root for each other."

Yes, it's hard not to root for Jones and Williams.   Great on the field, and by all accounts, great in the locker room.   Which makes it all the more bothersome that both are in the final year of their contracts.   And we're all familiar with the salary cap issues facing the Packers after this season.

Coming into 2020, I had always envisioned Jones being the challenge to resign, and that Williams, as a limited back-up, would return cheap.   But Jamal has thrown a monkey wrench into that scenario.   "I think I'm just showing that I'm more than what they thought I was when I first came out, and I've still got more to go", Williams said as modestly as possible.  "It's only up for me."

And that's great for the Packers....or is it?   What Jamal has really done, is to earn himself a lot more money.   Assuming he continues his much improved play throughout the year, won't other teams seem him as a potential number one....or at least a "one-a"?   He's not coming cheap for anybody anymore,

Which brings us to the 2020 draft.   When it came Brian Gutekunst's turn to pick in the second round, he passed on receivers and inside linebackers and defensive linemen to instead select.......a running back?

This was certainly not a position of immediate need.   Enter A.J. Dillon.   It seems obvious Gutey was looking ahead to 2021.   He knew there would not be enough cap space to bring both Jones and Williams back.   The question is, which of the two backs was Dillon drafted to replace?

Before the season, I would have guessed it was Williams.   Dillon is more of a one cut power runner, much in the mold of Jamal, or at least what Jamal was last year.   But now I wonder....could the plan be to let Jones walk, and bring back Williams as a number one with Dillon as a back-up?   Is Williams ready to be "the man"?   Would that be a way for the team to save cap space?   Surely Williams/Dillon would come cheaper than Jones/Dillon.

Then again, how do you let a talent like Aaron Jones walk away in the prime of his career?   So much of what makes the prolific Packer offense work revolves around Jones and his double threat ability.   Dillon will be under a low cost rookie contract for three more years.   That may encourage the Packers to let Williams walk and focus on a fat deal for Jones.

Then, there would be the radical, some would say, unthinkable option:   Let both Jones and Williams walk.   Bring Dillon back as number one, draft a running back to back him up.   Running back seems to be among the easiest positions to replace, although elite backs are rare.   About the only good thing I can see in this option is that it would save the team the maximum amount of cap space.   Maybe that would make it less painful to work new deals for Bakhtiari and/or Linsley and King.

There is one more possibility.   Keep all three.   Put your money here, and take your chances with replacements already on your roster at tackle, center and corner.    

I vote for that last option.   Don't break up the band.  Let's enjoy this awesome running back chemistry for years to come.    Yeah, I'm almost sure that won't happen, but I can dream.

 

OUTTAKES

•  I know the Packers need the bye week to heal up, but you kind of hate to see them take a week off when they are so hot.   Momentum can be a fickle thing.

•  You know what's weird?   The Bears hire an offensive guy, Matt Nagy, to be their head coach.   Yet their offense stinks and their defense is pretty good.   The Lions hire a defensive guy, Matt Patricia, to be their head coach.   But their defense is terrible and their offense is pretty good.

•  When we get to the home stretch of the season I still think the Vikings will be Green Bay's main competition for the division.   The Vikes are loaded with young talent that will get better each week.   In fact, I will go ahead and predict the Vikings will upset the Seahawks on Sunday.

•  Our safeties played better against New Orleans.   That's encouraging.   They had gotten off to a shakey start.

•  Considering the Green Bay area is one of the hottest spots in the country for Covid-19 right now, I think our players and coaches and staff are doing an amazing job of staying clean.   Takes a lot of will power and discipline to eschew social life for the greater good of the team.   Thanks guys for staying with the program.   

                

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Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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Comments (81)

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gr7070's picture

October 08, 2020 at 05:10 pm

I dream of players who are just as talented, if not more so, playing far more important positions remaining on this team.

Players like Bakhtiari, Alexander and Adams.

Sure it'd be nice to have Jones and williams on this team, both great guys by all accounts; but it's simply a waste of cap space.

Maybe Williams won't be that expensive - he's certainly not a primary runner.

Unfortunate, but see ya!

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dblbogey's picture

October 08, 2020 at 09:50 pm

I really hate the whole cap thing. You draft a guy, hope he develops and you get 2-3 good years out of him and then he's gone because you just can't afford him. I know it's all about helping crappy teams get better, which seems anti-American somehow, but it still sucks to lose guys who you root for and connect with and see them playing against you one day. Well, I'm just being the "get off my lawn guy", reminiscing about the Lombardi era . I agree, Keep Bakh, Adams, Alexander somehow. Keep Williams if reasonable, he's good but not special, and draft a RB. I see no way we can afford Linsley, so I hope the rookie or maybe Patrick can take over.

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gr7070's picture

October 09, 2020 at 08:41 am

Without a cap Green Bay might not even have a team by now. Likely not a contender if they did.

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Guam's picture

October 09, 2020 at 08:47 am

You should be very thankful for the Cap. Green Bay is not the garden spot of the NFL (and I say that while living in Wisconsin) and big city, big money teams like New York, LA, and Miami among others would grab most of the best players leaving the Packers with remnants. The NFL would look like major league baseball with small city teams only rarely competing for championships. I love the Cap despite its occasional complexities.

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Bearmeat's picture

October 09, 2020 at 09:00 am

With your fav team being in GB, you should thank your lucky stars there is a hard cap in football. Otherwise we'd be looking at NYG, DAL and LAR dominating annually the way that LAD, LAL and MIA Heat do...Allll the best free agents would want to be in LA, CHI, NY, or MIA and not GB...

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Coldworld's picture

October 09, 2020 at 01:37 pm

All true. Without a cap football would be dull. Rodgers would have long been in Dallas or NY. Our best players would have followed and emerging talent pulled away to be depth. The Packers would not have had time to develop the money to develop other income streams and Football would have less than half the teams and be all about owners like money and dynasties and then declining fan interest. There is a reason owners accepted it was in their best interest. Green Bay was one of the biggest beneficiaries, but the NFL itself was perhaps the biggest winner.

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Bearmeat's picture

October 08, 2020 at 05:17 pm

You have to think that AJ Dillon is the next RB in GB. We've got too many guys to pay (Bakh, King, Linsley, Jones) and not enough cap room. RB, OG, ILB, SS, 3/5 Tech (OLB in a 43) have long been the "least" valuable and most replaceable starters. That said, Jones catching and route-running ability out of the backfield is rare, and while he isn't big, he's also not been used as a bell cow. There should be some tread left on the tires after a 2nd deal.

Yet another reason I was very surprised with day 1 and 2 of Gute's draft.

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dobber's picture

October 09, 2020 at 07:44 am

I think we're looking at an era of timeshares at RB in GB. While Jones and Williams are not carbon-copy backs, they both can play the scheme and not limit the playcalling.

I agree in that I think what makes Dillon more of a headscratcher is that he doesn't have the qualities the other backs have that really diversify the offense: they're outstanding pass catchers and can run good routes. Dillon came out of college with a knock being that he's not been used very much in that regard (21 passes caught in college, total). That's not to say that he CAN'T be a really good pass-catcher, but this might also explain--when put together with the reports out of camp that his pass pro needed work--why he hasn't been on the field much...even in short yardage.

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Bearmeat's picture

October 09, 2020 at 09:04 am

I'm not sure that either Williams or Jones was that coming in though. Dillon was a RAS projection. A helluva projection at that. IF he turns out to be a faster Derrick Henry oh boy...

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Guam's picture

October 09, 2020 at 09:05 am

I think MLF was OC in Tennessee with Derrick Henry. Dillion shares a number of attributes with Henry although Henry is a much more proven receiver than Dillion. Perhaps the Dillion selection was a continuing remodel of the Packers based on what MLF wants at RB. Which certainly puts the writing on the wall for Jones (who was drafted for MM's offense).

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Coldworld's picture

October 09, 2020 at 09:55 am

LaFleur said early that a key was that they felt Dillon has natural hands even though little used.

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dobber's picture

October 09, 2020 at 01:06 pm

But still a projection as a receiver, whereas Jones caught 70+ passes in his years at UTEP and Williams caught 60.

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Coldworld's picture

October 09, 2020 at 01:38 pm

I think that was why he took time to make that point.

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JQ's picture

October 08, 2020 at 07:15 pm

Thanks for the thought-provoking and fun read Ken. You’re a great addition to the CHTV writing staff, and I look forward to your column each week.

It will be quite interesting to see how this year unfolds, and if AJ Dillon begins to develop as a viable option for later this season and into next. There’s no doubt Jamal has added much versatility to his game and will make Gute’s decision far more difficult when it comes to who the Packers re-sign at RB. Agree Williams is making himself some money as he continues his trajectory. He’s reliable as a pass blocker, sure handed as a receiver, takes GOOD care of the football, and can still grind out the tough yards. He also seems like a real asset in the locker room.

I’m wondering if Jones has already priced himself out of Green Bay. Like Jamal, he’s gotten better each year, especially in pass protection. Lafleur’s platooning him with Jamal has seemed to reduce the nagging injuries he had his first couple years.

So stay tuned, film at 11...
-JQ-

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Coldworld's picture

October 08, 2020 at 06:27 pm

Dillon will replace either Williams or Jones. Dexter Williams was likely a hedge on Jones if he goes, but Jones has now become an all round threat sufficient to consider a second contract. If Jones stays, Jamaal goes I’m guessing, if not it’s Williams, Dillon and Williams. Gute kept his options open and covered for the fact that Dexter may not work out.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

October 08, 2020 at 10:10 pm

Coldworld you totally hit the home run. Too many people forget about Dexter who is a very talented runner. Dont know about his pass pro, his pass receiving or his work efforts, but he is talented as a runner. Next year will be year 3 for him.

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Dzehren's picture

October 08, 2020 at 11:49 pm

Dexter Williams has nothing in common with Aaron Jones. AJ Dillon is a 250 pound power running back similar to Derrick Henry.

Aaron Jones is a unique chess piece and match up problem that keep defensive coordinators up at night. Jones also has the trust with QB 1.

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Coldworld's picture

October 09, 2020 at 07:58 am

D Williams has a lot in common with what Jones was thought to be. Since Williams was drafted Jones has proved to be more. Nevertheless, that is, I believe, the thought process at the time. Roster management is about filing the pipeline and keeping options open.

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Leatherhead's picture

October 09, 2020 at 06:59 pm

Not just Dexter. Swervin Ervin is in the mix, too. Or we could add a Day 3 guy.

I do think Jones and Williams will attract good offers, and I do not think Dillon was drafted for one carry a game.

Of all our free agents, Williams will probably be our most affordable. I’m not saying we can or should. We don’t have much money to work with. I can’t imagine how we could sign Jones.

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Gravedigger93's picture

October 08, 2020 at 06:45 pm

Great column Ken. Agree with pretty much everything. Is there any other back in the nfl you'd rather have than Jones? he's a rare talent I think. Maybe get William's stock up and trade him this year? Hate to say that. Not sure what we have in Dillon yet. I'm just enjoying the offense this year and love the backs. Go MLF.

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canadapacker's picture

October 08, 2020 at 06:50 pm

I think that it is all going to come down to three things , Injuries, the cap and the money these guys demand. Is there room for all 3 yes - Dillon is almost like a fullback - so maybe that is where he will be . Degura being out this year as an H back probably will help in developing Dillon as more of a threat except he will not be able to go as deep as fast as Deguara

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 08, 2020 at 08:45 pm

Dillon is a RB with outside speed. His game resembles Dorsey Levens. Williams may get an extension before A.Jones. Have to keep your LT and CB. P.Smith may be a trade chip?

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

October 08, 2020 at 10:12 pm

Agree! Love the Dorsey comparison!

Interesting thought about PS but seems like Gary and Garvin need to step up first.

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jurp's picture

October 09, 2020 at 08:01 am

I think it also comes to down to cap space on teams that need running backs (or LTs, Cs, etc.). After all, with the cap shrinking so much next year, will any of the big-name free agents get the same payday next year as they would've gotten before covid? Assuming that we have a complete season and playoffs, free agency will be very interesting to watch next year.

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Duneslick's picture

October 09, 2020 at 10:46 am

Dillion is much faster than Deguera

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stockholder's picture

October 08, 2020 at 07:09 pm

Not Happening. Everybody walks. Sorry to say that. But these guys should have been signed earlier. And I'll tell you why everybody walks. Because Rodgers stays. So. keep up the crazy thinking. Winners lead. This class of free Agents are followers. Their PayDay is elsewhere.

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dblbogey's picture

October 08, 2020 at 09:47 pm

Don't ever work for the suicide hotline. You'd depress them to death.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

October 08, 2020 at 10:13 pm

LOL!

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CoachDino's picture

October 08, 2020 at 07:17 pm

Good Stuff. I have been adamant for 2 years that Arron Jones would not be back and the better he became the less likely of his return. He deserves a payday and RBs,for all the reasons in the article and posts, are not guys to spend the limited resources on.

That said, has he become more valuable due to this scheme and his fit? Can he be treated as a RB/WR. Should WR money be tapped into for Jones?

With all the RB's hitting FA's and the cap reduction will there be deals to be had? Just stuff to think about.

Jamal, as much as he also is a great scheme fit, is NOT a #1 RB in the NFL. He may have more value in GB than somewhere else but I don't see him getting paid, so maybe he can come back. It will all come down to the $/Cap

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 08, 2020 at 08:47 pm

Etienne is coming out of Clemson if they want to target a dynamic back.

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Guam's picture

October 09, 2020 at 09:13 am

Considering the Packers spent a #2 last year on Dillion and also have Jones and Williams to consider, I think they have greater draft needs than another RB no matter how talented Etienne is.

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Coldworld's picture

October 09, 2020 at 09:58 am

I’d agree. D Williams still has to crack the roster though. I would expect a late round pick.

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baldski's picture

October 09, 2020 at 09:25 pm

You bring up a great point Coach. Maybe check Jones' pass catching numbers at the end of the season and use some WR money to throw his way.

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flackcatcher's picture

October 08, 2020 at 07:33 pm

I rather not think about it. Gute has so little room that the loses of starters and core players is a given. Even with Cap relief the loss in free agency will be heavy. OL, Jones and Williams... I rather not think about it...

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PatrickGB's picture

October 09, 2020 at 01:04 pm

I used to think about it a lot. But then depression set it. I now look at it like High school or college football. Players come, players go, so just enjoy THIS year.

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Stroh's picture

October 08, 2020 at 08:40 pm

Jones is outstanding, but he's not elite. The best of the best. He would rank somewhere from #6-10 overall among RB. Pass receiving is expected by RB in today's NFL, so that part of his game doesn't elevate him, it only separates him from those whe aren't good receivers, who don't rank in the top 10 anyway.

Williams doesn't look any different than he did in previous years. His best attribute is still block, the receiving and finally running. As a runner he still lacks elusiveness. He also lacks speed and sime decisiveness. Also, you don't develop twitch and shiftiness, you either have it or you don't. Williams just doesn't!

Its clear that Dillon was drafted to replace Williams. They are similar, except Dillon has the ability to be much better as a runner.

The Packers will be lucky to keep Jones, but have no chance of retaining both as well as Dillon. And why would the keep Dillon and Williams, it would be redundant, especially with Swerve and Dexter still progressing.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

October 08, 2020 at 10:15 pm

Yo man...awesome post!

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Stroh's picture

October 08, 2020 at 10:22 pm

Thanks much!

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dobber's picture

October 09, 2020 at 07:50 am

It's been said many times that the NFL is a league of replacement. You draft players, you develop players, you keep the ones that fit and make you better (if you can) and you replace the others when they go, either through your own draft and depth chart or through outside signings. It's just the nature of the beast.

I think the interesting component of all this is that neither Jones nor Williams was drafted by Gute for LaF: they were drafted by TT for MM. Given the chance, BG took a very different kind of back in Dillon high for LaF...which probably tells us something about what they see this offense becoming.

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Coldworld's picture

October 09, 2020 at 08:04 am

Maybe, but this offense is premised on diversity. A Dillon type increases that and addresses an area where we have been weak. My guess is that LaFleur seeks power as well as speed and receiving options as opposed to a pound it up the middle philosophy. He wants the threat to do so to be part of the mix.

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Since'61's picture

October 08, 2020 at 10:23 pm

I would franchise Jones, Dillon obviously stays and try to work out a deal with Jamal Williams. If Williams price is too high he’s gone.
Thanks, Since ‘61

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Stroh's picture

October 08, 2020 at 10:52 pm

No way in hell you franchise Jones. That's paying entirely too much. Williams is gone either way. Jones will have to accept what the Packers offer or he'll be allowed to leave in FA.

With Dillon, Swerve and Dexter they would still have a strong running game and receiving production and could use a mid round pick on a RB.

I would go to maybe 7.5M ave for Jones, not much more! RB are simply too easy to replace and that includes Aaron Jones!

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Coldworld's picture

October 08, 2020 at 11:52 pm

If Williams is affordable he fills the role he did last week. Very valuable in this offense and Dexter’s hands aren’t a forte while Dillon is a work in progress as a catcher.

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Stroh's picture

October 11, 2020 at 02:25 pm

If Jones leaves in FA, it at least increases the chances of JWilliams coming back. He's a versatile and valuable backup and good lockerroom guy. I think he and Dillon are generally too much alike. Dillon will be a good receiver and blocker, if not quite as good as Williams. Tho I think he can be Williams equal with time.

No doubt Dexter has to improve his blocking and receiving, but that's why he's on the PS, to develop the rest of his game.

Swerve can take on more to help replace some of Jones productively.

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Stroh's picture

October 11, 2020 at 02:25 pm

If Jones leaves in FA, it at least increases the chances of JWilliams coming back. He's a versatile and valuable backup and good lockerroom guy. I think he and Dillon are generally too much alike. Dillon will be a good receiver and blocker, if not quite as good as Williams. Tho I think he can be Williams equal with time.

No doubt Dexter has to improve his blocking and receiving, but that's why he's on the PS, to develop the rest of his game.

Swerve can take on more to help replace some of Jones productively.

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Stroh's picture

October 11, 2020 at 02:25 pm

If Jones leaves in FA, it at least increases the chances of JWilliams coming back. He's a versatile and valuable backup and good lockerroom guy. I think he and Dillon are generally too much alike. Dillon will be a good receiver and blocker, if not quite as good as Williams. Tho I think he can be Williams equal with time.

No doubt Dexter has to improve his blocking and receiving, but that's why he's on the PS, to develop the rest of his game.

Swerve can take on more to help replace some of Jones productively.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 09, 2020 at 05:33 am

Cannot see any future with Dex Williams on this squad. Bring in another guy(s) via the draft.

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Stroh's picture

October 11, 2020 at 02:28 pm

He's on the PS to have the opportunity to develop the weaker aspects of his game. The Packers will know after this year if he has or not. If not, then bring in a mid round draft pick.

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Coldworld's picture

October 09, 2020 at 10:03 am

12 million at this year’s cost to franchise tag a RB. I think that would be the cap hit too. I really doubt we could afford to do that.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 11, 2020 at 04:30 am

Franchising Jones is out of the question.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 08, 2020 at 10:28 pm

Not at all unthinkable to me,with what potentially we could have with this team and already have with Jones and Williams, it would be insane to break them up. . I don't feel I'm exaggerating when I say that this is the best running combination we've had since Brockington/ Lane and the dual threat guys of the Glory days during my childhood. Keeping that intact is the smart thing to do. Is it achievable ,sadly unlikely but am I ever enjoying this team this year.

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Leatherhead's picture

October 08, 2020 at 10:57 pm

Jones, Williams, Bakhtiari, and Linsley will all be gone. We. Don’t. Have. Money. To resign them.

Dillon and Ervin and some Day 3 guy will haul the rock next year

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Guam's picture

October 09, 2020 at 09:18 am

I hope we can find enough to resign Williams and King, but I agree that the cap will be extremely tight next year and the Pack will lose many of their free agents.

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Leatherhead's picture

October 09, 2020 at 10:52 am

I’m 100% with you on King and Williams. But I think they’ll both get offers we can’t match.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 09, 2020 at 08:40 pm

Put money on it.

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marpag1's picture

October 09, 2020 at 03:50 am

We're four games in. Let's HAVE a band and at least one world tour, and then I'll start thinking about whether or not we need to break the band up.

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x24's picture

October 09, 2020 at 07:51 am

I'm with you here! Seems like we just came of an eternity of an off season filled with nothing but prognostication.

Forgive me if I am content to just soak in "the now"- the last 4 games and the next. We will have months to wring our hands and speculate on the future

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Hematite's picture

October 12, 2020 at 07:05 am

I agree!
A lot of Super Bowl winners have to break up the band to some extent.
I just want to enjoy the ride and let the chips fall where they may.

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Leland's picture

October 09, 2020 at 06:38 am

Too early to get too excited. The chances are very good that the injury bug will have a lot to do with the options on how much money will be needed to sign anyone of the Packs running backs or for that matter any FA. An extension may look good to a couple of these guys. A bird in the hand......

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Renllaw's picture

October 09, 2020 at 06:43 am

I'm pretty sure I am going to get ripped for this take. But with the way this offense has performed when Adams is hurt by using the backs more as receivers, I would look to trade Adams to save cap space and keep the backfield and O-line intact. I believe those positions to be more valuable in the MLF offense than WR watching this team the last year and a quarter.

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dobber's picture

October 09, 2020 at 07:37 am

I'm surprised we haven't heard anything about an extension for Adams to spread his cap hit out a little bit and make room for contracts for some of these guys coming up. They could easily structure a contract that generates space under the cap, but doesn't put the team on the hook for a lot of guaranteed money in Adams' 31 or 32 year old seasons.

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SpikeHyzer's picture

October 09, 2020 at 09:17 pm

What if the WR position becomes less valuable in the new NFL?
Maybe Davante turns down the offer and someone overpays him.

Despite the lack of many draft picks devoted to it, the Pack has signed
and is developing a lot of WRs right now.

I'd say let Bakh and Davante go because they are the most expensive, and
I would try to re-sign everyone else (Jones, Williams, King, Linsley).

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dobber's picture

October 09, 2020 at 07:36 am

Love me some A Jones and this offense is really humming right now, but what you see league-wide is that running games are a function of scheme, OL, and individual talent. Many high-end running teams continue to be high-end running teams if their top back misses time because they still have 2 of the 3 pillars (for FFLers, its part of that notion of holding the handcuff to a high-end back)...but cap-a-nomics say that you can't pay everyone. It's been reported several times that the Packers are talking to Jones' representation about an extension, so it seems they're showing their hand and might be letting Williams walk.

I'm not arguing that any of these backs are easily replaceable. Jones brings a lot of elements to the table in a single player and that keeps defenses guessing. Williams is a complete back, if not a flashy runner. What I am saying is that if the renaissance we're seeing is a function of scheme, blocking, and rejuvenated QB1, then the offense will continue to play well with other backs in place. The hope will be that the brain trust will adjust to take advantage of the skillsets of different personnel as roster turnover inevitably happens. I would argue that one of MMs shortcomings was an unwillingness to evolve with his personnel.

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Coldworld's picture

October 09, 2020 at 08:17 am

My guess is that the talk with Jones is to establish whether he can be resigned affordably. If the determination is made that he can’t, then I think you will see talks with Williams.

The sad fact is that we cant sign everyone, as you have noted, so it becomes an exercise in determining what the viable options are.

Those who would push all these cap hits down the road need to think what that means. Actually, that would be the single best way to force the team to run with Love and shed Rodgers’ contract irrespective of play, or leave us in cap hell. The cap can be manipulated but not escaped.

I fear Bakh is already seen as unretainable and Jones may follow. Those two are the decisions that set the field for others (King, J Williams etc) and thus for roster strategy going forward, including Adams. If Tonyan continues to perform as he is, he will need to be paid more, although only a RFA next off season. The landscape evolves.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

October 09, 2020 at 08:33 am

Cold, my guess is that was exactly MLF’s thinking regarding Rodgers. He may have thought he saw the beginning of a drop off in skills last year, looked at his fatty contract and said, “Two more years with AR.” Aaron’s great play may change that, but MLF may think that he’s developed an offense that is not as QB-dependent. IF he’s confident that the success is due to scheme then he can get away with a system-QB. He lets AR and Bahk walk, signs Jones and spends on D.

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Coldworld's picture

October 09, 2020 at 01:42 pm

I think GMs, Cap managers and coaches have to think that way if they want a career. Roster building is about hedging your bets for injury, performance and negotiating position. One can’t become hostage to a key player, one can’t rely on the injury gods or a benevolent Father Time. You do what you can to minimize risk by having options in terms of resources and talent and a scheme that can absorb change.

Love plays or doesn’t. It matters not to them as long as the results are effective. Love will at worst net future pick(s). If Rodgers is winning who cares about anything else? No one will. They obviously think Love will increase in value in trade or on the field. I suspect that they are right if he never throws a ball outside of a pre-season in GB. There are enough in the league who think Love just needs polish even if ultimately he never truly shines.

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dobber's picture

October 09, 2020 at 01:28 pm

Ultimately there needs to be a plan. I think that's what you're pointing to, here, Doug. I'm sure there is--or at least, there was--and I think this most recent draft was indicative of it...we don't necessarily know what the plan is or what its timeframe is, but this team is a contender now. It's hard to know if that's what they expected when LaF came on board 20 months ago and how this impacts that initial plan.

The issue of ARod's window is a hard one layered with issues of his contract, his value on the open market, good/bad PR, and his level of play. He's a commodity and the Packers have to ultimately decide whether he's a commodity better held or better sold...and when that time is right. It could be they expected his trade value to power a rebuild...certainly his play so far this season muddies the waters that way.

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flackcatcher's picture

October 09, 2020 at 06:50 pm

Both Wolf and Thompson did hard rebuilds in Green Bay at the start of their tenures. Both featured either trading for, or drafting what they considered to be a starting caliber QB. Hard to expect Gute to be any different from what he learned at the feet of the two masters. Gute was in the front office when Ted pulled the trigger on the Favre to Rodgers move. Not talked much at the time, but the Cap was a factor in making that move. This last draft under Gute was not only about filling up weakness in the roster. But also stocking up on draft choices for the roster when veteran losses under the new free agency rules that both the NFL and NFLPA had agreed to would happen next year. (Watching both sides expecting to see huge increases in revenue while facing a major pandemic was both amusing and mind blowing. Like these idiots were playing Pokémon GO while not paying attention that they were in the middle of I-94 turnoff to Madison) And Gute was a major player of the hard rebuild under Thompson at the start of Rodgers career as a starter. As fans, we all know how this ends. The numbers dictate this. All we hope for is that both sides act with grace and humility when the time comes.

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Guam's picture

October 09, 2020 at 09:27 am

Couldn't agree more with the comment on pushing cap hits down the road. Eventually you have to pay these contracts and you might want to observe the Minnesota Vikings this year who are barely 1-3 and in the throws of correcting a cap hell brought on by pushing too many contracts down the road. They had to gut their defensive roster to just get under the cap this year and have no room to go after free agents to fix their current problems. They will have to suffer with a very young roster for another couple of years to fully get out from under their cap problems. Gee, why don't the Packers do the same thing.........

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marpag1's picture

October 10, 2020 at 06:07 am

"Many high-end running teams continue to be high-end running teams if their top back misses time because they still have 2 of the 3 pillars"

F0r example, I'm obviously not saying that the Panthers are BETTER without Christian McCaffrey, but they don't really seem to have missed a beat after he went down. Just sayin.

The NFL is a cruel business. Don't pay running backs. Get what you can on the cheap and move on. Sure, it sucks. But it is what it is.

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Lphill's picture

October 09, 2020 at 08:54 am

I would have liked to see more out of Dillon 4 games into the season before evaluating him, tough decisions coming up, other teams with limited cap space seem to figure it out , the Packers should too.

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Duneslick's picture

October 09, 2020 at 10:50 am

time and time again dillion isn't used in short yardage situations. ??????

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dobber's picture

October 09, 2020 at 01:12 pm

I think the failure there is not getting him more regular reps so they can disguise his usage...meaning you're likely telegraphing what you're going to do when he runs out there. Getting him a few more reps with diverse play calls at least makes a defense respect anything but a dive. On top of that, putting a cold rookie in the game to act like a short-yardage battering ram is asking for him to put the ball on the ground.

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Coldworld's picture

October 09, 2020 at 01:45 pm

Caught a pass last game. It is starting.

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PatrickGB's picture

October 09, 2020 at 01:10 pm

I think that if all you want from your running back is to plow or slip forward with the ball in his hands then yes he should have been in more. But in Matt’s offense it’s much more than that. I think that without a preseason, the staff needs more time to evaluate and train him for this offense.

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packer132's picture

October 09, 2020 at 01:42 pm

I've seen a couple of times that Dillon may not be up to speed on the play book. Blocking also appears an issue, and with Jones and Williams they see not need to rush him along.

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nostradanus's picture

October 09, 2020 at 09:30 am

The underrated part of the equation is pass blocking ability. If they let Williams/Jones walk and draft a RB then you have Dillon/Rookie and bad pass blocking at the RB position which is a major disadvantage.

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Coldworld's picture

October 09, 2020 at 01:46 pm

I’d guess that’s a focus with Dillon now. Remember Jones and even Williams didn’t come in as good blockers. It is certainly a major reason why D Williams is not a contender to play.

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LambeauPlain's picture

October 09, 2020 at 09:58 am

I feel the duo of Bakh and Linsley need to be prioritized before Jones and Williams. Then Adams needs to be on deck. 2021 is going to see alot of churn in the offseason at the top of the roster because of the Packers thin cap space.

Rodgers gobbled up so much of it, and frankly he is showing why he deserved to be one of the highest paid players at the NFL’s most important positions. The O line is key to keeping #12 in the game giving him time to make all those throws. And while AJ is a great runner, he has had some great holes to zip through.

I would also be selecting an O lineman in the top 3 rounds of EVERY draft. Good running backs to excel in ML’s system can be found in the later rounds and in the FA pool. And second contracts for prolific running backs has always been a crap shoot due to injury and all the Wear and tear from the pounding they take.

I am really liking the Jones/Williams show...but how much of it is ML’s system and #12’s arm?

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dobber's picture

October 09, 2020 at 01:17 pm

I think it's much easier to find a plug-and-play C or G in the draft without using a round 1 or even round 2 pick than a LT. Bakhtiari was gold as a round 4 pick who turned into an elite LT. I don't think I'd be paying Linsley...they might already have that replacement (or suitable short-term fill) on the roster (Jenkins...or Hanson...or Patrick).

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Coldworld's picture

October 09, 2020 at 01:48 pm

I agree. Linsley is good but if he stays healthy he is going to get money elsewhere that we can’t devote to a position of significant Depth.

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