Green Bay Packers

We Still Know Next To Nothing About Jordan Love

Photo Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier in the week, reporters asked Green Bay Packers GM Brian Gutekunst about Jordan Love’s fifth-year option. “I think from our end of it,” he said, “we’ve seen what we need to see.” His satisfaction with Love’s progression over the years, reflected earlier in the presser, implies that he will pick up Love’s option.

When the Packers shocked the world at the 2020 draft, it was hard to pinpoint the exact plan. Now it’s only become increasingly clear that Gutekunst simply misread the trajectory of Aaron Rodgers’ decline. Rodgers followed up Love’s arrival with back-to-back MVP seasons, leaving the Packers in a quagmire as they seek a peaceful transition of power at some point. However, they are trying to win now and manage a less-than-ideal salary cap situation. As we near the end of Love’s third season, we are comically uncertain about what his future holds. We also have seen comically little to suggest how good or bad he might be.

The bottom line regarding 2023 is that Rodgers will return at quarterback if he wants to. If he would like to make $59.5 million next year, he’ll play. If the team has a problem with it, they will incur $40.3 million in dead cap over the next two years with a post-June 1 trade. Any Rodgers trade would probably net considerably less than last offseason’s Russell Wilson blockbuster, considering his uncertain career timeline and rough 2022. Also, Wilson and the Denver Broncos have been ridiculously bad, for whatever that’s worth.

When a reporter asked about next year, Rodgers made sure to clarify that the question came with an assumption that things wouldn’t look different around Titletown and was receptive to a return if there’s “mutual desire on both sides.” Matt LaFleur enthusiastically welcomed the idea of a Rodgers return, as he’s made a habit of. Conversely, Gutekunst was more non-committal, deferring a definitive response to the offseason.

It’s worth noting that in October, Rodgers said, “seeing the development of [Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs] can’t help but be part of” his decision-making. After reeling in eight touchdowns over four games, Watson has since broken out as a potential OROY candidate. Doubs was the first to assert himself as a potential stud despite being drafted 98 picks after Watson and continues to work his way back from injury.

Love’s relief performance in Philadelphia, in which he completed six of nine passes for 113 yards and a score, got the ball rolling on some of the 2023 chatter. While it appeared only logical that he would lead the team into their final five games after another loss and Rodgers’ injuries, there’s been no indication that we’ll see more of him this year. He looked to have thoroughly improved since the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions games last season, but the bar was low, and the sample size has been minuscule. Gutekunst may have seen enough, but I sincerely hope he’s talking about practice because I and many others have no idea what next season might look like with Love at the helm.

We are knocking on the door of 2023, at least the calendar year. If Rodgers comes back, which he has nearly 60,000,000 reasons to, Love won’t be steering the ship until 2024. I would imagine the nearly $20 million fifth-year option, which Gutekunst seems committed to picking up, would finally guarantee him the title of QB1. But the will Rodgers return? saga has become an annual tradition in Green Bay, so who knows?

To put things in perspective, the Packers took Love six months before our last presidential election, and he’ll probably be taking the reins two months before our next one. That’s right: When Roger Goodell announced Love’s selection from his basement at the beginning of the pandemic, the U.K. had just left the European Union, Chadwick Boseman and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were alive, and Mitch Trubisky was the Chicago Bears’ starting quarterback.

The Packers are sniffing around the top 10 in next year’s draft order, where a deep and promising rookie QB class awaits. That could create an interesting opportunity to restart the clock on a successor’s rookie contract if Rodgers commits to at least another year. Obviously, this would mean trading Love, and I mean, it would’ve been bizarre and a bummer if Michelangelo stopped painting the Sistine Chapel three years in. Still, nobody really knows if the Packers are painting a majestic and soon-to-be iconic masterpiece or splattering paint dully across the chapel ceiling, merely delaying the fervent disapproval of Pope Julius II or their passionate fanbase. It’s worth at least considering that one or more of C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, and Hendon Hooker will be better than Love in 2024. It’s not controversial to say that Bryce Young probably already is, but he’ll almost definitely be out of reach.

After the 2020 draft, Jordan Love could’ve been good, or he could’ve been bad, and we didn’t exactly know what the succession plan was going to be. Now that nearly three years have passed and he’s attempted a whopping 90 passes as an NFL player, he could be good or bad, and we don’t exactly know what the succession plan will be. Cruising to the top seed on an annual basis somewhat prevented the Packers from looking silly, somewhat. But now that they’ve embarked on a pitiful campaign that’s included consecutive losses to the New York Giants, New York Jets, Washington Commanders, Buffalo Bills, and Lions, I’d imagine it’s time to take an actual stance on the future of the franchise, or at least show the world what they know about the kid who’s raking in millions just clocking in at Lambeau Field.

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