Green Bay Packers

How Jared Goff's Mega-Deal Affects Jordan Love's Negotiations

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

When the Detroit Lions traded long-time franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford, a trio of draft picks headlined the package. Jared Goff and his massive contract was ubiquitously perceived as a tank commander while Detroit blew up its middling roster.

In three seasons at the helm, though, Goff has been under center for a successful rebuild that saw the team break curses and achieve milestones in 2023. Many have speculated whether Brad Holmes and Detroit’s front office would stick with him as the future or bring in a young signal caller to grow alongside the core. Now that their days of picking in the top-five to top-10 appear to be over, they answered that question on Monday, inking Goff to his third NFL contract, a four-year, $212 million mega-deal.

The Lions have shaken up the quarterback market and appear to have made things a little more difficult for the Green Bay Packers. Jordan Love became extension-eligible earlier this month, and pundits expect him to sign a similar deal with Green Bay. Ever since the tide turned on his 2023 season, his price has soared. When Daniel Jones signed for a $40 million annual average value (AAV) around this time last year, Love was projected to fall in that range, provided he cemented himself as the future of the franchise. Now, a $50 million salary feels like his floor.

There is more to Goff’s $212 million deal than meets the eye. First, only $170 million is guaranteed. More importantly, we don’t know how much new money he received versus money carried over from his previous deal. We still rely on the agent-speak that Goff’s representatives fed to scoopers like ESPN’s Adam Schefter, which we must take with a grain of salt.

Resetting the market is imperative to agents and athletes. Jaire Alexander did so with his four-year, $84 million deal last offseason. On Monday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced an extension for their young star safety Antoine Winfield Jr. for, guess how much? $84.1 million. Joe Burrow currently leads the quarterback market with a $62.9 AAV. However, in entering that second tier right between Justin Herbert and Lamar Jackson, Goff completely reset the bar for the “upper mid” quarterback. That paves the way for Love to be paid more like Burrow than Herbert.

The Packers have reset their salary cap with Rodgers off the books and an influx of critical contributors on rookie contracts. However, they’d love to have the liquidity to fill needs on the open market like they did this spring with Xavier McKinney and Josh Jacobs. One way they can make Love’s deal as painless as possible is by going to a fifth year for salary relief. He is young, has fully proven himself, and his physical ceiling makes him likely to eventually earn a third contract in an even more robust market.

Having to pony up after only one year is unfortunate in a sense. The Packers were unable to capitalize on the significant financial advantage of having a quality quarterback on a rookie contract, which would have enabled them to make several large investments in the supporting cast. That phenomenon has propelled the San Francisco 49ers to become the juggernaut they are and widened contention windows for the Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers, and Kansas City Chiefs before they paid their signal-callers. The Chicago Bears can do the same after drafting the NFL-ready Caleb Williams.

Green Bay’s approach to the quarterback position hardly allows them to dance around the cap that way. Through their process, though, they have drawn far greater results than the teams that continue to run it back by throwing highly touted prospects into difficult situations and getting trapped in rebuild cycles. Furthermore, it isn’t hard to argue that Love simply would not have been ready to play at the level he did earlier in his career. He didn’t look prepared until the second half of 2023. It was more uncertain last offseason with the fifth-year option, but now that the results are pretty much in, it’s already time to break out the checkbook again.

Packers fans and the NFL media at large have not been shy about throwing Love into conversations about the league’s elite. Davante Adams recently expressed at least a little bit of regret, albeit implicitly, that he left Green Bay. He believed he couldn’t accomplish his goals on a post-Rodgers team. The Packers have written those checks, and it is now up to Brian Gutekunst and Russ Ball to cash them. Expect big numbers, a figure that the announcement of Goff’s deal will enlarge.

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