As expected, June 1st came and went with nothing happening on the Aaron Rodgers front. This was one of the many dates circled on calendars across Wisconsin. Once June started, the breakdown of how the Green Bay Packers could sprinkle out money against the cap in any Rodgers trade would better benefit them. While the situation will undoubtedly drag on, if Rodgers does return and signs an extension, would the Packers regret never giving Jordan Love an opportunity?
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reiterated on Tuesday that a contract extension is still on the table for Rodgers if he opts to go that route.
The details concern just when the olive branch was extended by Green Bay and in what manner. Had the offer been extended right after the playoff run ended, maybe this whole dilemma never happens. Instead, it sounds like Brian Gutekunst initially paused. That, along with an array of different complaints, has apparently rubbed the league MVP the wrong way. If Rodgers does opt to put the grudge aside at some point and come back to the Packers, it would seriously put into doubt any chance of Love being under center for the Packers.
Here’s the kicker: If Rodgers comes back and gets even one more ring in Green Bay, whether it be next season or in three years, the Packers made the right choice. They have been heartbreakingly close to winning another championship. If Rodgers comes back and they get over the hump, bringing back No. 12 and sending Love elsewhere is a success. There are wild caveats, sure. If Love were to go on and win four or five titles somewhere else, this narrative would be rethought. But in a more realistic scenario, if A-Rod comes back and wins even one more ring, it’s deemed the right choice by Green Bay.
Where all the anxiety sits is what to do with Jordan Love. Keep this in mind: If Rodgers signs this extension, it almost assuredly locks him into Green Bay for three more years, maybe more. There is no win-win, best-of-both-worlds scenario where the Packers keep Rodgers, coddle him, and then still turn it over to Love. It would be far-fetched to have Love sit three or more years and then expect some sort of clean transition. So, would the Packers regret not giving No. 10 the keys?
They traded up to draft him in the first round for a reason. And as Rodgers has stated numerous times, his own MVP year threw a wrench into those plans. Green Bay tried walking the tightrope to win now and keep an eye towards the future. As a result, they stumbled, and Rapoport and others have reported that the Packers have catered to Rodgers with the extension he desires.
Logic says there’s little chance that any franchise that could transition seamlessly from one legend to another — to another. That’s essentially the pipe dream of going from Brett Favre to Rodgers to Love. But each case is separate. While many have clamored for Rodgers to return, there’s another camp in Green Bay that wants the “drama queen” gone. Yet few have paid any attention to the possibility that Love could turn out to be great. It’s not as though he was drafted as a flyer. Many evaluators believed Love to be a first-round talent.
Because of this, the nightmare scenario is simple. Green Bay caves in, gives Rodgers the extension, then they jettison Jordan Love. The Packers keep getting close but never win the Lombardi Trophy again with Rodgers as QB1, while Love flourishes elsewhere.
You fork over the big extension to Rodgers to win a title or two, not to stand pat. Perhaps that’s part of the reason they drafted Love. Rodgers had indeed been coming off a good but not great year, and the front office may have thought they had maxed him out. Then he proceeded to win the MVP last year, and the Packers earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Green Bay’s front office has found itself in a peculiar spot that has slowly gotten increasingly worse over the last month-plus. It’s been quiet lately, but sooner or later, the dam will have to break.
If Rodgers comes back and the Packers win even one more title, all will be remembered as a successful rekindling of the flame. What Love does — outside of a Hall of Fame, multiple Super Bowl-winning career — won’t be worried about nearly as much. However, the doubt would loom if Rodgers comes back for the next handful of years and Green Bay never gets to the promised land. Your move, Gutekunst. But, really, your move, Rodgers.