AJ Dillon has a clear message after insulting the team’s offer

The Green Bay Packers have revitalized their running back room this season. For the past seven seasons, the Packers’ backfield has featured, to some extent, fan-favorite Aaron Jones. Over those seven years, Jones became Green Bay’s third all-time rushing leader, behind Ahman Green and Hall of Famer Jim Taylor. Unfortunately, the Packers and Jones were unable to reach an agreement this offseason and he was released.

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The decision the Packers made to release Jones because he did not want to take another pay cut was not very popular with the fan base. However, in Green Bay’s defense, Jones played the fewest games of his career in 2023 (11) due to various injuries. On the other hand, when he got healthy toward the end of the year, Jones had five 100-plus rushing games in a row (including the Packers’ two playoff games).

Regardless, Jones was fired to save money on the salary cap, despite being immensely popular with the fanbase and productive when healthy. However, a running back’s career can quickly spiral out of control, and Green Bay has always been a team that risks moving on from a player too early rather than too late.

The Green Bay Packers have signed 2022 NFL Rushing Leader Josh Jacobs and selected Marshawn Lloyd in the 2024 NFL Draft

Green Bay Packers running back Josh Jacobs
November 12, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (8) runs the ball against the New York Jets during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Hours before Jones’ release from Green Bay was announced, it was reported that the Packers had reached an agreement on a four-year, $48 million deal with 2022 NFL running back Josh Jacobs. In that particular season, he had 1,653 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.

Jacobs missed the final four games of the 2023 season with a leg injury, but still had 1,101 yards from scrimmage. However, he averaged just 3.5 yards per carry, the worst mark of his career. That said, he didn’t play in a good offense and was forced to carry a burden he doesn’t expect to carry in Green Bay.

Additionally, the Packers selected USC running back Marshawn Lloyd in the third round of the 2024 NFL Draft. In his final college season (which was his first at USC after three years at South Carolina), Lloyd ran for 820 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 7.1 yards per carry.

The Green Bay Packers also brought back Running Back AJ Dillon

Green Bay Packers, AJ Dillon
Green Bay Packers running back AJ Dillon (28) gets a high-five from quarterback Sean Clifford (6) during organized team activities Wednesday, May 29, 2024 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

In a somewhat surprising move, the Packers also re-signed running back AJ Dillon to a one-year contract with a cap hit of just $1.29 million. To do this, Green Bay took advantage of the rare four-year qualifying offer.

Dillon didn’t have his best season in 2023, which was concerning considering it was the final year of his rookie contract. For the third consecutive season, he saw his production decline despite receiving roughly the same number of rushing attempts in each season. In 2021, he had 803 rushing yards while averaging 4.3 yards per carry. In 2022, he had 770 rushing yards while averaging 4.1 yards per attempt.

However, last year Dillon had just 613 rushing yards while averaging just 3.4 yards per attempt. Because of these numbers, many assumed he would be the running back Green Bay moved on from, not Jones.

It was also surprising to see him sign for such a low salary.

AJ Dillon wanted to stay with the Green Bay Packers despite their low offer

Green Bay Packers, AJ Dillon
Green Bay Packers running back AJ Dillon, 28, is seen during organized team activities Wednesday, May 29, 2024, in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

At the start of Green Bay, OTA’s Dillon revealed that he had received contract offers from other teams for much more money than he accepted to stay with the Packers. However, he felt that staying home in Wisconsin was best for his family.

He also felt like he had a lot to prove, as evidenced by one of his last social media posts:

As you can see from the photos, Dillon has reported to OTAs with a much toned body than in the past. Clearly, he was motivated by the Packers’ low contract offer and the addition of two new running backs who will compete with him for playing time.

Dillon’s message is more than clear: he’s going to make sure the Packers get a lot more out of him than $1.29 million in production. He will play for the chance to stay with the team that took him in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Hopefully 2024 will be his best year yet.

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