There were a lot of people surprised when the Green Bay Packers were revealed as the mystery team interested in acquiring running back Jonathan Taylor from the Indianapolis Colts. That included one of the team’s running backs, AJ Dillon.
Dillon, along with Aaron Jones, is considered by many to be the best running back tandem in the NFL. It is fair to wonder why the Packers would show interest in adding another player to a position they are already set at.
Jones has a massive cap hit for 2024, which could lead to 2023 being his last with the Packers after accepting a pay cut to remain with the team. Dillon is playing out the final year on his rookie contract, so the backfield could look drastically different next year.
But, that isn’t anything that Dillon is worried about. He recently spoke about the Taylor rumors, admitting that he hasn’t spoken to Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst about it. However, his focus isn’t on Taylor; it is on the team’s Week 1 opponent, the Chicago Bears.
“When I saw that, I just kind of laughed,” Dillon said on Wednesday in his first public comments about the report. “I don’t think much about that. I’m not going to go upstairs and start knocking on doors [about] rumors or anything like that. It’s just about when it’s time for my name to actually be brought up, when we’ve got real second-contract talks coming up, then I’ll have those talks. But that has nothing to do with me.
“I’m focused on Game 1, rocking with my guy 33 (Aaron Jones) over there – best backfield in America – and we’re going to go out there and prove it and keep balling and keep pushing each other.”
Dillon certainly has the right mindset about the swirling rumors. He cannot control people talking about trades, so he is focusing on something he can control; his performance on the field.
He knows that it is the nature of the business being in the NFL. Everyone’s job is on the line regardless of the role you are playing with a team.
“It’s really out of my control,” Dillon said. “I’ve been around long enough to see it doesn’t matter whether you’re a starter, not a starter, practice squad. I’ve seen guys [who are] very talented go to other teams from here.
“It’s about coming to practice, doing what you can control, trying to be a positive guy, trying to be a leader, trying to correct myself when I make mistakes out there. Those are things I can control. Coming in and being positive, a positive figure outside in the community, [are] things I can control. Whether I’m here next year at the end of the year, whether I’m here after the cut or whatever the trade, that’s out of my control. I’ve just got to go out there and put my best foot forward every day.”
If the Packers want to make a chance at running back, it is out of Dillon’s control. But, the one way that he can change their mind is by playing at a high level. If he wants to remain in Green Bay for the duration of the 2023 season and beyond, producing at a high clip would certainly improve his chances.