In another offseason of intrigue for the Packers, GM Brian Gutekunst made clear on Monday that they are committed to Aaron Rodgers, not mincing words on a Zoom meeting with reporters.
“Aaron’s our guy,” Gutekunst said. “He’s going to be our quarterback for the foreseeable future. We’re excited about kind of the things we’re going to try to accomplish here over the next couple years.”
This seems like it was always the plan, even if Rodgers hasn’t gotten an extension yet. Which once again begs the question, right around the anniversary of when the decision was made: what was the point of drafting Jordan Love?
The Packers infamously traded up in the first round in last year’s draft to take the quarterback out of Utah State, which led people to believe that the team would move on from Rodgers in 2021 or 2022. Perhaps Rodgers’ MVP season in 2020 changed the team’s thinking, but to be surprised by Rodgers playing well means you don’t know your own team.
Either that was the case, or the team drafted Love to sit for several years, which is not a sound strategy in the modern NFL. With the current collective bargaining agreement, teams must decide whether or not to extend a first-round quarterback’s fifth-year option after season three, locking the team in for a hefty salary in that year.
If Rodgers plays two more seasons for the Packers – something that seems almost a certainty after his MVP season and Gutekunst’s comments – the team will be forced to make a decision on Love without having seen him play. The only way he would get game action would be with a Rodgers injury or a benching, neither of which are desirable outcomes.
It’s even possible that Rodgers plays another three or four seasons, or the entirety of Love’s rookie contract. At which point, they’ll need to decide whether to extend him, again without having seen him play other than in practice. Will they be willing to commit a modern quarterback’s salary to a guy with no game experience? If not, using a first-rounder on him becomes the ultimate waste of a draft pick.
Then, of course, there’s the question of what the Packers could have done with that draft pick. The Packers fell one game short of the Super Bowl in 2019, and had clear holes on the team, especially at receiver. They didn’t address those holes, and fell a game short of the Super Bowl for a second-straight year. Backup receiver Equanimeous St. Brown dropped a crucial two-point conversion in the loss to the Buccaneers. if the Packers had stood pat with pick No. 30, Tee Higgins and Chase Claypool would have been on the board for the Packers.
Hindsight is always 20-20, and it’s not possible to know exactly what would have happened if the team made a different move. But with every development since the 2020 Draft, the Jordan Love pick looks worse and worse for the Packers.
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