Packers 2021 offseason position review: Running backs
The Green Bay Packers‘ ground game dominated in 2020 but there are some big questions ahead in the offseason.
Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams remained the top two backs for the Packers this past season, but the team also added second-round pick AJ Dillon to the backfield.
We’ll break down the 2020 season for the Packers’ ground game, while also looking ahead to an uncertain offseason.
2020 season review
Green Bay’s ground game was up there with the best of them in 2020, ranking eighth for yards with an average of 132.4 rushing yards per game.
Jones led the way with 1,104 yards and nine touchdowns in the 14 games he played. Williams was the perfect complement with 505 yards and two touchdowns of his own.
Dillon was the clear third-string running back behind the other two but he showed more than enough when he did get an opportunity. Dillon missed five games due to COVID-19 but returned and made an impact down the stretch. He finished the year with 242 yards and two touchdowns but averaged an impressive 5.3 yards per attempt.
Can Dillon handle a bigger workload and become the featured back? He only got one opportunity to prove this in Week 16 against the Tennessee Titans, the only time he had more than five carries in a game. Dillon passed the test with 21 attempts for 124 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 5.9 yards per attempt.
What’s next in 2021?
Jones and Williams are free agents next month.
With little flexibility when it comes to cap room, it’s a very real possibility the Packers won’t be able to re-sign either player. Perhaps that was part of their thinking when they used a second-round pick on Dillon last April.
Maybe one of Jones or Williams returns, but it seems highly unlikely the Packers’ top three RBs from 2020 will all be back next year.
Williams would likely be the cheaper of the two to re-sign, potentially leading to a Dillon-Williams backfield. If Green Bay can find a way to pay Jones, a thunder-and-lightning combination with Dillon could be a lot of fun.
If neither player is re-signed, Dillon will be the frontrunner to lead the backfield in 2021. The Packers would then need to add more depth in the draft.
Tough decisions await.