Rumors abound about what it will take to keep Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay after this season. Does the team need to win the super bowl? Does the team need to bring back more of Rodgers’ friends or add another premier wide receiver? Is a Jordan Love trade the only thing that will keep Rodgers in Green Bay? Is it worth it if that’s the case?
I want to look at a few teams that could potentially offer a trade for Jordan Love. We’ll look at what type of player they may offer before the preseason is over to help Green Bay now and what level of draft pick they may offer in the offseason.
The most similar trade in recent history is the Jimmy G trade from New England to San Francisco. The 49ers traded a second-round pick for Jimmy. He had shown more at that point in his career than Love has, but most people at the time believed the 49ers were getting a deal on Jimmy and Love will not need a new contract (like Jimmy did) for at least two seasons, possibly three.
There was a rumor when Green Bay traded up for Jordan Love that they were worried the Colts would take him. Since then, the Colts have tried out Philip Rivers for a year and now have to hope that last season’s worst quarterback in the league will totally turn around his career right after preseason foot surgery. Good luck.
I’m not sure the draft day rumor was true or if the Colts would still like Jordan Love. But they have spent a lot of time since Andrew Luck spontaneously retired searching for anyone to play QB.
If Wentz has a setback after his foot surgery and the Packers get Colts GM Chris Ballard on the phone over the next month or so, I think the most likely player Gutekunst will ask for is Xavier Rhodes.
The Colts have other young promising players who I’m sure Gutekunst liked in the draft, but Ballard is loathe to lose young players and the Packers need someone who can help them now. Rhodes was a top ten corner last season, excels in the zone scheme that the Packers will use, and has experience with Jerry Gray, the Packers secondary coach. Not to mention, the Packers corners outside of Jaire Alexander haven’t really impressed so far in training camp.
If a trade was to happen after the season, it would have to be because Wentz continued his poor play and continued to blame it on his coaches. Meanwhile, Love had a good preseason and maybe played in a game or two during the regular season and played well.
The Colts sent a conditional second round pick and a third-round pick for Wentz. There’s no chance they would give up that level of draft capital for Love. In fact, I doubt they would give up any draft capital after making big trades in the last two off-seasons for DeForest Buckner and Wentz. The Packers should seek a Love for Michael Pittman or Love for Kwity Paye swap. Paye may be too valuable, but Pittman is an ideal Packers type receiver and the Packers only receiver under contract next season is Randall Cobb.
The Steelers were another team rumored to be targeting Jordan Love in the draft. It’s likely they will enter this season with a top 5 defense, top 5 wide receiver core, a promising young running back, and a bottom five quarterback and offensive line.
There’s a small chance that the Steelers would call about Love before the season. This would only happen if Big Ben were truly washed up and the team decides it can’t get to the playoffs with him this season. More likely, the Steelers will give it one last go with him and reach out to Green Bay after a 7-10 season.
If they do offer a trade right now, James Washington seems like the obvious choice. He has requested a trade and could be the deep ball wide receiver Packers fan have yearned for for a decade. I doubt Gutekunst thinks Washington is better than any of the top 8 or so wide receivers on the Packers’ roster. Remember, when Green Bay didn’t take a wide receiver last season, Gute said it was because after the mid-second round he didn’t think any of them would make the team.
More likely, Green Bay would seek Chase Claypool who they attempted to trade up and take in the second-round last offseason. When that doesn’t work, the most likely candidate is Tyson Alualu a veteran run stuffing defensive lineman who can thrive in the gap-and-a-half scheme the Packers will be using on the defensive line. I would guess this would be the same likely trade after the season.
The Falcons are in cap hell right now with their QB Matt Ryan. Ryan has looked just OK the past few seasons and is on the book for cap hits of $48 million next season and $43 million the following season.
It’s unlikely the team would make a trade for a new QB before they can get out of Ryan’s contract. And the Packers will not be able to help on that front. However, if Ryan gets hurt, Love could be an ideal trade candidate. He knows the offense (Falcons head coach Arthur Smith learned it from LaFleur during their time together in Tennessee) and would be cheap enough still to squeeze under the cap.
The Falcons could give him a flyer this season and then decide if he’s their starter of the future once they can dump Ryan.
The problem for Green Bay is that the Falcons just don’t have the level of veteran talent Green Bay would need to compete this year. Players like Calvin Ridley, Grady Jarrett, and Deion Jones are much too valuable to send for a backup quarterback. And probably too expensive for Green Bay anyway.
The most likely trade would have to happen after the season and at that point Ryan would likely be healthy and too expensive to replace. The most I can see the Falcons offering is a third-round pick to buy a lottery ticket on Love.
Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.