As the Green Bay Packers begin the process of preparing for another season, Jordan Love‘s future with the team remains a great mystery.
Green Bay wants to have its cake and eat it too by keeping Aaron Rodgers around while former first-round pick Love stays put as the backup until Rodgers calls it a career. While that’s okay in theory, it’s dragged out to the point where the Packers have flat-out done wrong by Love, botching his development.
When Rodgers came into the league in 2005, there was already a shift league-wide towards first-round rookie quarterbacks getting the keys handed over to them right away. The old method of draft-and-stash was becoming outdated. The No. 1-overall pick from Rodgers’ draft class, Alex Smith, started seven games in his rookie year in 2005.
Rodgers was the outlier, sitting behind Brett Favre despite being a first-round selection.
Fast forward 17 years, and having a first-round quarterback ride the bench for three years is foolish.
No, Love shouldn’t be starting over Rodgers. The foolishness is Green Bay’s decision to select Love, only to end up where they are now.
As he enters his third season, Love will yet again sit on the sidelines while he watches quarterbacks from his class like Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, and Justin Herbert run the show for their respective teams. The most excitement for Love will come in preseason games. If things go according to plan, it’ll be the only time Packers fans see him on the field all year.
Love hides the frustration well. By all accounts, he has been as professional as can be. But if he really is content with his circumstances, it’s time to take off the blinders.
Take for instance what he said via Jason Wilde of Madison.com following OTAs.
“I am human,” Love said with a smile. “And that stuff’s going to be there, regardless. But I think I do a pretty good job at compartmentalizing it. I don’t even want to think about that stuff.
“I can’t control what’s going on, I have no idea what might happen. So rather than stressing about things that might happen, things that might not happen, I’m just here right now. I’ll take what I’m given and run with it.”
Does that sound like a quarterback who’s thrilled about his current situation?
It’s not all Green Bay’s fault, of course.
Rodgers’ future was an unknown. However, he had given no hints of retirement or moving on before the Packers selected Love. When they took Love out of Utah State, the attention shifted toward Rodgers’ reaction. There was certainly some animosity from No. 12, which eventually clouded his future with the team. Meanwhile, Love sat patiently and waited. Now, it’s gone on far too long.
Rodgers and Brian Gutekunst have worked out their differences, and the superstar quarterback signed an extension this offseason. The biggest constant besides Rodgers staying put is Love staying on the bench.
Green Bay’s dream scenario is for Rodgers to play as long as he wants and to hoist another Lombardi Trophy before they eventually make the shift to Love. The problem is, there’s no way to know if that will be in one more year, two, or three? Love has already waited longer than any other first-round quarterback of his generation.
Why would he want to keep waiting?
If and when the time comes for the Packers to put Love under center, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he would still want to go elsewhere else, given how this has all unraveled. Sure, there’s the allure of playing with the Packers, a stable franchise that pushes most of the right buttons and constantly has a playoff-contending team, but lingering frustrations could boil over.
One regular-season start entering Year 3 is malpractice on the part of the Packers. They have every right to keep waiting and letting Love play the backup role. Most people won’t blink if they exercise Love’s fifth-year option. But at some point, it needs to be recognized that the Packers have done wrong by Love. They are hindering his ability to develop into a starting NFL quarterback.