With the NFL trade deadline set for this coming Tuesday, Fox’s NFL Insider Jay Glazer has reported that the Green Bay Packers are still one of three teams looking for a running back on the trade market.
"“There are a lot of teams that are in the running back market,” said Glazer. “Baltimore, Cleveland, Green Bay is still in the running back market as well. Dallas hasn’t been calling around.”"
The Packers currently have $7.5 million in available cap space, according to Over the Cap–enough to acquire a running back at the deadline, especially if they gave that player a new deal and backloaded the contract as they often do.
The Packers, of course, expressed interest in Indianapolis’ Jonathan Taylor prior to the season when it looked like the two sides were not going to be able to agree to a long-term deal. However, even then, that seemed like a questionable decision, given the potential draft and salary cap capital needed to make that deal work for a player at a non-premier position. Now, it would make even less sense considering that the Packers are 2-5 on the season and in an apparent free fall.
The run game was supposed to be an element that this Packers offense was going to lean on this season with a first-time starting quarterback and a young group of pass catchers. But instead, it has disappointed. Aaron Jones has been injured for the majority of this season and is averaging 4.3 yards per rush on just 22 attempts. AJ Dillon, meanwhile, is averaging only 3.2 yards per carry.
The Green Bay rushing attack absolutely needs a boost. Without this aspect to lean on, the lack of a run game is one reason why the Packers have struggled on early downs. This inability to move the ball regularly on first or second down puts an already poor passing game in obvious passing situations, giving the defense the advantage.
Now, with that said, with how poorly the offensive line has blocked in the run game this season, I’m not so sure a new addition to the backfield would drastically change things either.
Given the current state of the Packers’ run game, the importance of it to this offense, along with Dillon being a free agent this offseason and Jones’ status beyond this season an unknown with a $17.17 million cap hit in 2024, it makes sense that this is a position that Green Bay has an interest in.
However, by no means should that be the case this season with the current state of this team. Even if the script was flipped and the Packers were 5-2, one could easily make the case that they still shouldn’t trade for a running back, with this being an evaluation season and running back being one of the more easily replaceable positions. As I wrote recently, the Packers shouldn’t be buyers or sellers. They need to stand pat and make the best out of the situation they have.
For all we know, this could be like the many previous instances where Brian Gutekunst calls around, maybe fields call, sends out some feelers, but ultimately, nothing happens.