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AJ Dillon

Jones deal caps No. 2's appeal

The Packers worked out a restructured deal Aaron Jones this week. That's nice for him and the Green Bay offense, but it's not great news for those hoping for a breakout 2023 for AJ Dillon. Will be tough for him to put up big numbers with Jones around.

The Packers, like many teams, might be happiest with a two-back system, keeping both players fresh and healthy. Plus if you move on from Jones, and then Dillon gets hurt, you're in trouble at a key position in the offense (especially if the team is transitioning to inexperienced Jordan Love at quarterback).

They also might simply not think that Dillon is capable of a big leap forward. In each of the last two seasons, among running backs that have received as much or more work than he has, he's been good, but not special.

The last two years, there have been a total of 50 running back seasons of at least 180 carries (which Dillon has done both times). In each of those years he's scored 7 touchdowns, and finished in about the same spot at the position in fantasy leagues (PPR scoring). He was the 23rd-best back in 2021 and 27th-best in 2022. A move into the top 10 or 15 isn't going to happen with Jones around, and maybe the team doesn't think he's capable of it (and is thus willing to pay Jones $11 million in 2023 so they don't have to find out).

Those 50 180-carry running back seasons the last two years are shown below, sorted by fantasy points. Dillon (in bold) is probably in line for a similar type of 2023, barring injury to Jones. Good back, but greatness is on hold for at least another year.

180-CARRY RUNNING BACKS, 2021-2022
2022Austin Ekeler, LAC20491510772218378.71
2021Jonathan Taylor, Ind.33218114036020377.11
2022Christian McCaffrey, 2TM24411398574113356.72
2021Austin Ekeler, LAC2069117064720349.82
2022Josh Jacobs, L.V.34016535340012330.33
2022Derrick Henry, Ten.34915383339813308.84
2021Najee Harris, Pitt.30712007446710300.73
2021Joe Mixon, Cin.29212054231416289.94
2022Saquon Barkley, NYG29513125733810284.05
2022Nick Chubb, Cle.30215252723913283.46
2021James Conner, Ariz.2027523737518257.75
2021Leonard Fournette, T.B.1808126945410255.66
2022Aaron Jones, G.B.2131121593957254.67
2021Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.23710024728712254.17
2022Rhamondre Stevenson, N.E.2101040694216251.18
2022Tony Pollard, Dall.19310073937112248.89
2022Dalvin Cook, Min.26411733929510245.810
2022Joe Mixon, Cin.210814604419239.511
2021Antonio Gibson, Was.25810374229410237.18
2021Alvin Kamara, N.O.240898474399234.79
2021Josh Jacobs, L.V.217872543489230.012
2022Jamaal Williams, Det.2621066127317229.912
2022Leonard Fournette, T.B.189668735236228.113
2022Najee Harris, Pitt.27210344122910227.514
2022Miles Sanders, Phil.2591269207811220.715
2022Alvin Kamara, N.O.223897574904219.716
2021Nick Chubb, Cle.2281259201749217.313
2021Damien Harris, N.E.2029291813215214.114
2022Travis Etienne, Jac.2201125353165211.117
2021Dalvin Cook, Min.2491159342246210.316
2021Javonte Williams, Den.203903433167206.917
2022Kenneth Walker, Sea.2281050271659202.518
2022James Conner, Ari.183782463008202.219
2021Melvin Gordon, Den.2039182821310201.118
2021David Montgomery, Chi.225849423017199.019
2021Devin Singletary, Buff.188870402288197.820
2021Derrick Henry, Ten.2199371815410193.422
2021AJ Dillon, G.B.187803343137187.623
2022Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.231876179212185.822
2022David Montgomery, Chi.201801343166181.724
2022Dameon Pierce, Hou.220939301655170.425
2022Raheem Mostert, Mia.181891312025170.326
2022AJ Dillon, G.B.186770282067167.627
2021Elijah Mitchell, S.F.207963191376165.026
2022Tyler Allgeier, Atl.2101035161394159.430
2022Jonathan Taylor, Ind.192861281434152.433
2021Sony Michel, LAR208845211285148.331
2022Cam Akers, LAR188786131177145.334
2022D'Onta Foreman, Car.2039145265131.038
2022Brian Robinson, Was.2057979603112.743

--Andy Richardson

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