Shakespeare couldn’t have had the Packer’s plight in mind, back around 1595, when he gave this title to one of his lesser-known comedies. Regardless, if Green Bay doesn’t heed his words, they will have squandered last season’s first round draft choice – they even traded up in order to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love.
To the best of my knowledge no one – other than perhaps himself – predicted that Aaron Rodgers would turn his game around to the point of running off with the MVP award. And that changes everything.
We fans simply have no clue as to Love’s ability and potential – he’s been invisible for the past year. Assuming that the league will have a three-game preseason schedule, Love will likely get almost all of those offensive snaps, which might suffice to predict what the future holds for him.
I’m going to trust Brian Gutekunst, and assume (as I will for the rest of this piece) that Love develops rapidly and performs well. If so, it’s inevitable to me that the Packers will trade him, which will most likely happen next season.
From Love’s Perspective
Jordan had no say in the decision to make him the backup to the NFL’s best quarterback. He’s an innocent victim.
Can anyone imagine that a player as physically gifted as Love would be content to sit on the bench for four or even five years? Jordan’s loss of pay alone would add up to tens of millions of dollars. If Jordan were to still be Rodgers’ backup entering his fourth year (2023), he’d be demanding a trade, and he’d remain bitter forever about how Green Bay compromised his career and earning capacity.
From Rodgers’ Perspective
When Aaron was 34 years old, he told NBCs Peter King his goal was to play at least to age 40. After his outstanding play last season, he might want to add a couple more years onto that goal. It’s obvious that Aaron was shocked, miffed, and hurt when Gutekunst drafted Love. It’s also apparent that Rodgers currently feels he lacks job security in Green Bay.
Aaron will turn 40 during the 2023 season. His 4-year contract also runs through 2023, and he seems to be resisting any efforts by the team to tinker with it. The word is that Aaron wants an extension that would include guarantees that he’d be Green Bay’s starting quarterback until he’s ready to retire. After how he performed last season, and for his loyalty and excellence over 16 years with the team, he’s earned such assurances.
From the Packers’ Perspective
Gutekunst invested heavily in the belief that Jordan Love would become Green Bay’s third consecutive franchise quarterback. Rodgers’ fabulous 2020 season quashes any such hopes – even if Aaron’s games declines somewhat as he approaches age 40, he’ll still be one of the league’s premiere passers.
Barring the inconceivable – a total collapse by Rodgers – the only way Love will ever start a game for the Packers is if Aaron is unable to play due to an injury.
Gutekunst find himself on the horns of a dilemma – but there appears to be a solution. If Jordan begins to display the talent that Gutey expects – in preseason games and occasionally during regular season games whose outcome has been decided – Jordan will become a very attractive trading prospect.
Any number of teams desperate to land a top-notch QB should not hesitate to offer up their first-round draft selection (and maybe more) for Jordan. Gutekunst can’t be the only GM who feels Jordan’s potential is sky-high. The optimum time to talk trades would be during or following the 2022 season – though the Packers could let it be known they are even open to offers during or immediately following the upcoming season.
The Packers might even work a trade with a team that is in line to have one of the first ten overall draft picks, which would essentially be upgrading a 26th overall pick to a top-ten draft pick. Several teams in 2021 might be quite willing to trade their top pick in 2023, or in 2022 to trade away their top 2024 pick. Those would be ideal times to seek out Rodgers’ eventual successor.
Gutey simply jumped the gun in trying to pick Rodgers’ replacement. Trading away Love would also serve to quell any resentment Rodgers might be harboring toward the team’s front office.
From Other Teams’ Perspectives
If Jordan is traded, it need not be a matter of Green Bay cutting its losses. Gutey can still make lemonade out of what has turned out to be an ill-timed draft pick.
There are a handful of dysfunctional teams who get to choose near the top of the draft list almost every year, like the Jets, Browns, and Jags. Most teams, however, don’t get to pick in the first round until the first ten or so players have already been picked off. A few teams become desperate enough that they’ll trade multiple first round picks in order to move up and acquire a top ten draft pick. The better NFL teams have to pick from the middle or near the bottom of that first-round list year after year, which means their chances of landing a franchise QB are quite slim.
Aaron Rodgers now appears ready to remain at or near the top of his profession for several years to come. Therefore, assuming that Jordan Love shows the potential to become a top-flight NFL quarterback in the next year or two, the Packers should seek to trade him. Green Bay would be in the driver’s seat, and need not be in any hurry to pull off such a deal.
If they don’t trade him, it’s inevitable that Green Bay will spend years of training and coaching Jordan to become a star for some other team. As the bard would put it: absent a trade, all of Jordan Love’s labors would likely be lost to the Packers.