Green Bay Packers

Jordan Love Is Playing (And Winning) the Waiting Game

Photo Credit: Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

After the Green Bay Packers speed-ran their post-Rodgers rebuild, their offseason checklist was surprisingly short. They filled their most significant hole, safety, with a big fish when they acquired New York’s Xavier McKinney in free agency. Additionally, they resolved their running back conundrum, swapping fan favorite Aaron Jones for 26-year-old Josh Jacobs and beefed up their offensive line depth with premium draft capital. That leaves the elephant in the room: locking up their franchise quarterback with a multi-year extension.

Jordan Love has about half a season of eye-opening play on his resumé. However, it’s already time for him to get paid, a product of Green Bay’s unique approach to the quarterback position. Still, Brian Gutekunst surely wouldn’t trade the team’s perfect hit rate over the last few decades for a couple extra seasons of Love on a rookie deal. Now it’s all about keeping his cap hit manageable to ensure he has the best possible players around him as the team’s Super Bowl window reopens.

With Rodgers off the books, Gutekunst has some financial breathing room. Still, Love’s impending mega-deal is getting more expensive by the day. He became extension-eligible at the beginning of May, and everyone expected a swift resolution. The fans, media, and his teammates have bought in on him. There’s a smooth relationship between Love and the organization, and his rookie deal is expiring. However, his agents, David Mulugheta and Andrew Kessler, are playing the long game.

Love and Gutekunst have publicly expressed optimism throughout offseason team activities. However, as prominent quarterback deals continue to roll in, it gets increasingly difficult for the Packers to justify their number. Last month, the division rival Detroit Lions committed to Jared Goff for the long haul. Goff has traditionally been an upper-mid-tier signal-caller throughout his career and earned the team’s trust after leading Detroit out of a dark, lengthy rebuild. His four-year, $212 million deal includes a $53 million salary, narrowly trailing Joe Burrow’s $55 million market-leading rate.

Before the 2023 season, expectations for Love hovered around Daniel Jones’ $40 million mark. That number only rose as the season went on. First, $45 million, then maybe $50 million. Now it’s impossible to imagine him falling short of Goff. Earlier this month, Trevor Lawrence followed suit, inking a five-year, $275 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. His corresponding $55 million salary matched Burrow’s — another reference point for Love’s agents to point towards. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter put it: “Jordan Love can just sit and wait for these quarterback deals to come in.”

Goff and Lawrence were the first major quarterbacks to sign deals since unexpectedly high salary cap growth was announced heading into 2024. Their numbers have given Love a case to be the league’s highest-paid quarterback. Upcoming extensions for Dak Prescott and Tua Tagovailoa could change that benchmark, not to mention an inevitable restructuring of Patrick Mahomes’ deal as it continues to be passed up by less proven guys.

The minutiae here is quite important. Green Bay enjoyed all the splendors of having a star, four-time MVP quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, but they also had to pay him as such. In Rodgers’ 10 playoff losses, the Packers surrendered an average of 33.5 points per game to their opponents. Despite an incredible 2010 Super Bowl run, the Rodgers era was characterized by its playoff shortcomings. They had plenty of stars, from Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams to Clay Matthews and Jaire Alexander. However, Rodgers’ mammoth contracts weighed down their payroll, in stark contrast to Tom Brady’s pay cuts that allowed the New England Patriots to stock up on defensive talent throughout their dynasty.

Jordan Love is going to get his payday; he’s going to get it with the Packers, and he is going to deserve it. However, all indications are that he should be as patient as possible and let evidence continue to mount in his favor. The projected final number has grown since the start of last season, and it continues to inflate by the day. The important thing for the team is keeping it as manageable as possible so that they can extend his corps of pass-catchers and their group of burgeoning defensive standouts when the time comes. The market is making that as difficult as possible, spearheaded by a division rival, so the wait continues.

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Photo Credit: Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

The best general managers are constantly looking for ways to improve their roster. Brian Gutekunst has been quoted multiple times saying that roster building is a 365-day-a-year […]

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