The Green Bay Packers have four more games remaining this season. Many fans have already written off this season and are ready for the next. Others, are staring at the single digit probabilities and doing their best Lloyd Christmas impression stating “So you’re saying there’s a chance? YEAH!” Regardless, questions have been churning over who finishes off this season at Quarterback between Rodgers and Love.
Aaron Rodgers desires to keep playing if the Packers are still in contention. GM Brian Gutekunst and Head Coach Matt LaFleur have also echoed this statement, supporting their veteran Quarterback. This has also been the case with talks in regard to who will be the Quarterback next year. Both GM and Head Coach, have stated that they would like Aaron Rodgers back. So that’s that right? If Aaron Rodgers wants to finish playing this year, he will. If he wants to play next year in Green Bay too, he will. And that will leave Jordan Love sitting at the kiddie table yet again for his fourth season, right?
Could Jordan Love seek a trade?
Green Bay insider Jason Wilde stated late Saturday that if Aaron Rodgers does come back for 2023, he’s fairly confident Jordan Love could seek a trade. Wilde commented that even though Love wouldn’t come out and say it, he was getting the feel that Love doesn’t want to sit for another year.
Why would he? Love has shown in the time he’s had under center that he at least could be a serviceable starter. Perhaps even better. He has the benefit of learning behind one of the best to ever do it under his belt, and he also could have two more years on a rookie contract. Meaning if he is dangled out on a trade, his contract would be pretty easy to swallow for any team willing to see what he has to offer.
Will the market be out there?
I would say about 14 teams in the league currently don’t have their Quarterback situation confidently nailed down for the next year or two. Of those, probably six of them would have no problem turning the reins over to Jordan Love for the 2023 season. I could see the Saints, Commanders, Panthers, Jets, Texans, or Titans letting Jordan Love take over.
Of course, the Packers could just say no. Jordan Love is under contract for the next year. If the Packers pick up his fifth-year option, that could be the next two years. Love would then have to decide to just deal with it, or perhaps hold out.
Granted the Packers have that leverage, they might as well just trade him if Love requests it. If they don’t, what really is the point of having him on the roster? A denied trade request and keeping him as a bench hostage is sure to sour any future he may have with the franchise. They might as well trade him for some draft capital to maybe use on the next project Quarterback and sign a serviceable backup to Rodgers for next year.
Will this be Favre vs Rodgers re-visited?
Yes. As much as Brian Gutekunst and Mark Murphy likely have nightmare flashbacks of dealing with that saga, it absolutely will be a QB controversy sequel in Green Bay. Keep the legendary fan favorite for one or two more seasons and trade away the young gun? Or take your shot with the young gun and trade or release the legend. No matter what you do, it’s going to hurt.
I stated in a previous article that many Packer fans don’t want to go back to the dark ages. They’ve loved Aaron Rodgers the past decade and a half and that will never change. But they don’t want the team to hang on to Rodgers for too long and end up hurting our chances at a bright future when he’s gone.
It paid off before. The Packers cut the cord with Brett Favre trading him to the New York Jets. They moved forward with Aaron Rodgers and won a Super Bowl three years later. Favre came close to a Super Bowl berth after this with Minnesota but didn’t make it. Even though the Packers haven’t been to the Super Bowl since, they’ve enjoyed 9 of a possible 11 winning seasons. Which is definitely something to be proud of still. So, I’d say the Packers won that first match.
It might not be as easy
The issue with just letting Aaron Rodgers go via trade or release, is his impact on the salary cap. If Rodgers is released, he’d count towards $99M of the cap in 2023. This could be split between ’23 and ’24 but it would still be ugly to pay that just for a QB to not be on the team.
Rodgers being traded raises too many questions. A team might be willing to roll the dice on 1-2 years of Aaron Rodgers if they think they’re only a Quarterback away from greatness. But again, there’s the money. The Packers might have to eat a chunk of the contract to even have a team consider it. Even at that point, it could only be a mid-round pick given the risk involved.
Honestly the best-case scenario if the Packers want to move on from Aaron Rodgers in 2023, is Rodgers retiring. It would still cost them a good chunk of the contact in guaranteed money but would be the best-case scenario.
So, what to do?
If Jordan Love indeed seeks a trade, and Aaron Rodgers decides he’s coming back for 2023, I don’t think the Packers have a choice. Probably their best bet would be to take as much as they can get for Jordan Love and try to use that to grab their next future QB to sit behind Aaron Rodgers until Rodgers decides to indeed call it a career.
It will be an interesting offseason to say the least. Personally, I’d like to see Jordan Love get his shot at leading the Packers after all he’s been through and all that he’s shown so far. But that might not come to be. We will just have to sit back and try to enjoy the ride.
Greg Meinholz is a lifelong devoted Packer fan. A contributor to PackersTalk as well as CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter at @gmeinholz. for Packers commentary, random humor, beer endorsements, and occasional Star Wars and Marvel ramblings.