Green Bay Packers nation got knocked a little off course last Wednesday. It was rumored that the Packers were in on trading for Colt’s All-Pro Running Back, Jonathan Taylor. While many Packer fans know better than to seriously dive into these rumors, they just kept building steam. True or not, current Packers Running Backs, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon chose to stay out of the locker room during media availability that day. That can easily be attributed to not wanting to answer questions on supposed rumors the whole time. Both Jones and Dillon are models of professionalism. But, if there is even a sliver of truth to these rumors, what could be the fall-out?

Let’s just get it out of the way. If you’re a Wisconsin sports fan, how could you not love the idea of Jonathan Taylor in Green and Gold? I went through the 2013, 2015, and 2020 drafts hoping for a Badger running back on the Packers. First was Montee Ball, then Melvin Gordon, and last was Jonathan Taylor. And let’s be honest, whenever he declares for the draft, there will be Braelon Allen as well. 2/3 of those drafts the Packers did in fact draft a running back in the same round as the Badger running back. You could say we probably dodged a bullet with Eddie Lacy over Montee Ball in 2013. But as beloved as AJ Dillon has become in Wisconsin, I would’ve taken Jonathan Taylor if I had the choice.

But now that we are where we are, what’s up next?

The Last Year for Jones/Dillon?

Heading into this new era of Packers football, I’ve often said that Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are going to be Jordan Love’s security blanket. There is nothing more valuable for a first year starting year QB than a great running back. (Which is a reason I find the Colts situation so odd to begin with). Having the ability to hand off to two running backs that have averaged 5.0 and 4.2 yards per carry in the last two years, is a heck of a luxury. If Love has some struggles at first in the passing game, Jones and Dillon might be able to pick up the slack on the ground.

That’s all well and good for 2023, but what about after? Aaron Jones is set for a big cap hit in 2024 if he’s still on the roster. AJ Dillon will have to sign a new contract entirely as his rookie deal expires after the 2023 season. Dillon could command a decent salary, and it’s unknown whether or not the Packers are willing to sink so much money into two running backs. It is worth noting however, that perhaps that’s why the Packers have gone without signing veterans at any other offensive weapon position. All other top weapons are on inexpensive rookie deals and won’t be owed new money until at least the 2026 offseason.

But after these new trade rumor developments, will Jones or Dillon be willing to stay?

The Ugliness of Rumors

In his press conference Wednesday, GM Brian Gutekunst basically shot down the Jonathan Taylor rumors, checking his usual list of responses:

The expected “We try to be in every conversation” and “If we have the opportunity to be better, we’re going to check it out” words were uttered. But these rumors included one stating that the Packers had offered AJ Dillon and a 3rd round pick for Taylor. When Gute was asked about AJ Dillon’s role, he responded that AJ Dillon was in the Packers plans regardless. Essentially stating that no, Dillon was not offered despite the rumors. But is this enough to put the current RB’s minds at ease?

First off, let’s look at Aaron Jones. Granted Jones is going to be expensive later on, he still took a $5M pay cut to stay in Green Bay this year. That is the single greatest gesture a player can bestow on an organization in my opinion. Imagine doing that at your day job, “Hey, I’ll work for less money, you’re welcome.” I know I wouldn’t do it. Granted sure, I probably won’t reach Aaron Jones’ $24M career earnings before I retire by a landslide, but still, it’s a huge gesture. To find out you could’ve been traded or have your future time with the team replaced before the season even starts? That could hurt your motivation a little bit.

Second, is AJ Dillon. I sure hope Brian Gutekunst quickly took Quadzilla aside and assured him that his future is with the Packers. Otherwise, negotiations after this season could be very short, and not in a good way. If the plan was perhaps to bring in Jonathan Taylor to play along with Jones and Dillon and then see who earns their deal when it’s all over? Maybe Dillon responds favorably to that idea. But if there’s a seriousness to these rumors that AJ Dillon was offered to the Colts, Dillon could be looking for a new team after this year. Regardless of if the Packers want him or not, AJ Dillon could view this as an insult to the way the Packers value him. They’ll either have to pay him more than top dollar for his services or be okay with him walking out the door.

So, what’ll it be?

I’ll admit it, I have a Badgers #23 Taylor jersey in my closet. I would absolutely love to see Jonathan Taylor on the Packers. He would be an excellent addition to this team. His presence would be phenomenal in the development of Jordan Love as a starter in the next few years. He can run and catch just like Jones and Dillon so could be that aforementioned security blanket as well. But I’m not sure I’m willing to sacrifice Jones or Dillon to get it.

If we find out that Aaron Jones is not long for a Packers jersey after this year, then maybe I could handle it. Taylor will likely give the Packers another 2-3 good years after this year that I’m not sure Jones will. Dillon, however, has just embraced the Packers and Wisconsin with open arms and it would be rough to see him go. I think we’re going to see AJ Dillon’s best football this year. So, I’d absolutely hate to see him go after having a monster season. Or perhaps see him have that monster season in another uniform.

Jonathan Taylor, I hope you find a better home than Indy. You deserve it. But I don’t think the place is Green Bay, just yet.

Greg Meinholz is a lifelong devoted Packer fan. A contributor to PackersTalk as well as CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter at @gmeinholz. for Packers commentary, random humor, beer endorsements, and occasional Star Wars and Marvel ramblings.