Patrick Taylor Green Bay Packers News NFL Free Agency 49ers


Patrick Taylor Green Bay Packers News NFL Free Agency 49ers


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Packers head coach Matt LaFleur.

Another veteran among the Green Bay Packers’ unsigned free agents is switching sides to one of their biggest NFC rivals in 2024 NFL free agency.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the San Francisco 49ers are signing veteran running back Patrick Taylor Jr. to a one-year contract for next season. The 25-year-old will now have an opportunity to compete for rotational reps behind superstar Christian McCaffrey in a running back room that also includes Elijah Mitchell and Jordan Mason.

Taylor, a 2020 undrafted free agent, played in 37 games for the Packers over the past three seasons and logged a career-high 226 offensive snaps in 2023, rushing for 141 yards and catching 11 of 17 passing targets. He also played on offense and special teams in both of their playoff games, including their divisional-round loss to the 49ers.

The Packers had counted on Taylor as either their third-string or practice-squad option at running back over the past few seasons, but a reunion in 2024 seemed unlikely after the team shuffled its running back room over the past month. They released star Aaron Jones, signed 2022 rushing champion Josh Jacobs as his replacement and retained free agent AJ Dillon on a one-year deal. They also have a decision to make on their latest undrafted rookie rusher, Emanuel Wilson, who is an exclusive rights free agent.

Perhaps if Taylor had gone unsigned, the Packers would have considered offering him a spot on their 90-man roster following the 2024 NFL draft; though, the draft itself could present them with excellent opportunities to add more depth to their backfield.


Packers Have Reason to Target RB in 2024 NFL Draft

The Packers may have reloaded their running back room with a 26-year-old premier talent in Jacobs, but the motivations remain for them to target at least one running back with one of their 11 selections in the 2024 NFL draft later this month.

The Packers could have a solid trio on their hands in 2024 if they tender Wilson, but it does little to help them for the long-term future. Dillon will be a free agent again and, if he does not noticeably improve from 2023, might not have a strong case for returning. The Packers also do not know yet whether the rookie flashes from Wilson are a sign of greater potential or merely a trick of the lights. More depth helps for the worst case.

The Packers are also in a good draft position to target one of the talents toward the top of the class with two second-round picks and two third-rounders. It is even possible that all of the running backs are still on the board when they are on the clock at No. 41 overall, which they received as compensation for last offseason’s Aaron Rodgers trade.

General manager Brian Gutekunst’s predecessor, Ted Thompson, did find great value on Day 3 running back selections during his final draft class in 2017, though. He took Jamaal Williams in the fourth round and added Jones in the fifth, an approach that Gutekunst could look to repeat if he is willing to throw more mid-to-late picks at the position than one, higher-valued selections on early Day 2.

Either way, it is hard to imagine the Packers walking out of the draft without at least one new running back joining their roster for the 2024 season.


Could Patrick Taylor Eventually Return to Packers?

Patrick Taylor has found a new home with the 49ers and could be given a reasonable shot at making their 53-man roster in 2024, assuming the 49ers do not find a substantial rookie in the draft to compete with him, Mitchell and Mason. If Taylor ever finds himself back on the open market, though, a reunion could still be possible.

The Packers changed up portions of their coaching staff during the 2024 offseason, but head coach Matt LaFleur, offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich, running backs coach Ben Sirmans and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia — the four most essential coaches as they pertain to Taylor — are all returning. Unless they have soured on Taylor, they could view him as a potential emergency option if plans change down the road.

There is precedent here. The Packers released Taylor from their practice squad last October after he expended all three of his game-day elevations to the active roster. When injuries struck in late November, though, they signed him off the New England Patriots’ practice squad to their 53-man roster and kept him for the rest of the year.

The Packers might simply be ready to go a different direction, but don’t be surprised if somewhere down the line, if the situation calls for it, the team brings him back.

Jordan J. Wilson is a sports reporter who covers the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals for Heavy.com. He has previously covered all levels of sports — high school, college and pro — for a variety of publications including The Indianapolis Star, The News-Gazette, Springfield State-Journal Register and Peoria Journal Star. More about Jordan J. Wilson





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