Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk reports this morning that former Green Bay director of player development George Koonce hinted in a radio interview that the Packers could soon add a big-name player on offense. This raises the obvious question of who that player could be. There aren’t that many big names available, although wide receiver/ESPN analyst Keyshawn Johnson, soon-to-be-available Dolphins quarterback Daunte Culpepper and Chiefs running back Larry Johnson were the first names that came up. One name that also comes to mind: former Bengals/Patriots RB Corey Dillon.
When the Patriots released Dillon back in early March, there were some widespread reports that Dillon was thinking about retirement but would consider playing for a team that would make him its featured back. Since then, Dillon has been tight-lipped about his future, but the Packers are one of the few teams that might consider signing Dillon with the understanding that he’ll head into the season as the unquestioned starter. The Packers’ depth chart shows Vernand Morency, Brandon Jackson, Noah Herron and DeShawn Wynn at running back. That doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence there.
I guess the $64,000 question is this: Could Dillon still function as a featured back? Although he turns 33 in October, he probably could. He led the Patriots in rushing with 812 yards last season, and according to the advanced Football Outsiders stats, Dillon provided both more total value and more value on a per-play basis to the team than his successor, Laurence Maroney, did last season. And in addition to boosting the running game, adding Dillon could accomplish something else: Pacifying Brett Favre. Favre complained bitterly when the Packers didn’t trade for wide receiver Randy Moss, and he might show up to training camp in a better mood if the front office gives him someone closer to his own age to play with (almost sounds like kindergarten, doesn’t it?). It’s speculation right now, but Dillon’s name again is a possibility and shouldn’t be dismissed just yet.