Jordan Love

Packers Likely To Carry Two QBs In 2022

The quarterback position has been subject to plenty of scrutiny in recent years in Green Bay, including this past offseason amidst the Aaron Rodgers contract saga. Things are likely to look very similar at the position to last season on the depth chart, as well as the Packers’ 53-man roster in 2022, though. 

The team faced a number of salary cap challenges entering the new league year, with a new contract for Rodgers at the top of their priority list. The two-time reigning MVP ultimately landed a four-year extension, making him the league’s highest-paid player. There are questions about his chances of playing out the entirety of that contract, though, with Rodgers himself acknowledging that he is essentially set to play on a year-to-year basis moving forward.

“Of course you think about the next chapter and what’s next in your life all the time,” the 38-year-old recently said, via Matt Schneidman of The Athletic (subscription required). “It doesn’t mean you’re not fully invested. When I said I’m back, I’m 100 percent invested… I’m here, I’m all-in, and [the coaching staff] know[s] that. They know what to expect from me… and that’s what they’re going to get.”

Rodgers’ backup will, of course, once again be Jordan Love. The 2020 first-rounder has yet to see an extended run of action to show the Packers he can take over the starting role, though the team has shown a commitment to keep him for at least the near future. In his rookie season, Green Bay carried Rodgers, Love and former UDFA Tim Boyle on the active roster, knowing Love wouldn’t clear waivers to safely reach the practice squad.

That changed last year, when the team carried just two signal-callers, electing to keep Kurt Benkert on the taxi squad. He was cut last month, though, making former seventh-rounder Danny Etling the only other QB on the roster right now. As Schneidman writes, the Packers are likely to take a “similar route” to 2021, with only Rodgers and Love making the team out of training camp, leaving Etling (or another addition) in line for the practice squad. That set-up could give the team the opportunity to get more clarity about both of their top QB’s futures, as they look to remain in Super Bowl contention in 2022.

Packers Unlikely To Take Trade Calls On Jordan Love

A big day of Packers developments continues. The team still has not heard from Aaron Rodgers on his 2022 preference, though GM Brian Gutekunst set the stage for an interesting situation by indicating he did not necessarily agree to trade Rodgers if the MVP requested it.

All this leaves Jordan Love staring at two disparate paths. The 2020 first-round pick could enter the season as Green Bay’s starter, or he could become an afterthought if Rodgers signs another Packers extension. In the event Rodgers returns, Gutekunst plans to hang onto Love. The fifth-year GM said Wednesday it is “very doubtful” he would take trade calls on his current backup, via The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman (on Twitter).

I think obviously during an NFL season, it’s tough as a backup quarterback, with the way we do things nowadays, to develop,” Gutekunst said, via Schneidman (subscription required). “But at the same time, I thought he made some really good strides. I’m really excited to see where he goes from here.”

It obviously makes sense for the Packers to sit tight at present, given Rodgers’ murky status. And Love’s value has taken a bit of a hit since the Packers traded up to draft him two years ago. Although Love received the first-team reps during the Packers’ offseason program, he did not play well in his surprise start against the Chiefs. That said, this quarterback draft is not viewed especially high regard, and the QB trade market may not be robust — depending on how certain teams act in the coming weeks. Love could be intriguing to a team that does not land one of the top options coming out of free agency.

A third option exists of Rodgers coming back for one more year and walking in free agency in 2023. That certainly would make additional Love development valuable. However, if Rodgers signs an extension, which the Packers are prepared to authorize, it would make sense for the team to listen on Love.

Green Bay is in uncharted territory regarding a first-round quarterback. Since the 2011 CBA introduced the revamped rookie wage scale, no team has kept a first-round QB as its primary backup for two full seasons. Of course, the Packers stood as an outlier during the 2000s as well by sitting Rodgers for three years behind Brett Favre. A Rodgers extension, however, opens the door to Love sitting throughout his rookie deal. There is no modern comp for that. The team’s fifth-year option call on Love is due in May 2023.

Minor NFL Transactions:  12/15/21

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: LB A.J. Klein

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Latest On Packers’ Quarterback Situation

With the months-old Packers-Aaron Rodgers stalemate looking set to drag into training camp, the team is in a holding pattern at quarterback. The longer this goes, the more relevant Jordan Love‘s readiness becomes.

Coming into the offseason, the Packers’ confidence appeared low in the 2020 first-round pick being prepared to make starts this season. That view seems to have changed, to some degree. Love made progress after handling a busy workload this offseason, Albert Breer of SI.com notes, with the second-year passer making particular strides with his footwork.

The Utah State alum took approximately 90% of the reps in the Packers’ offseason team drills, per Breer. GM Brian Gutekunst indicated the Packers planned to flood their highly drafted backup with work this year, after the COVID-19 pandemic nixed the 2020 offseason program and Love spent the season as Green Bay’s third-string quarterback.

The Packers’ signings of Blake Bortles, Kurt Benkert and Jacob Dolegala do not appear to have affected Love’s reps this offseason. The younger additions stand to serve as training camp arms — in the likely event Rodgers does not show next month — while Bortles would make sense as insurance if Love will not be ready to go in Week 1. For his part, Love expectedly expressed confidence he would be ready to make a Week 1 start.

It goes without saying the Packers want Rodgers to be their starter this season. That happening after Love went through a QB1 offseason would be a bonus for the Packers, for short- and long-term purposes, but nothing has emerged indicating Rodgers will suit up for the team again. If this scenario were to take place, with Rodgers starting every game for the 2021 Green Bay edition, Love would become the first Round 1 quarterback since Rodgers to spend his first two full NFL seasons on the bench. Beyond Rodgers, Brady Quinn‘s three starts from 2007-08 serve as the current basement for a first-round QB through two years in that span.

Jordan Love: I’ve Spoken To Aaron Rodgers, Ready To Start Week 1

The big story of this NFL offseason has been the Aaron Rodgers drama in Green Bay. Depending on how things shake out, the Jordan Love Packers era could start in as early as a few months.

There have been reports that team brass didn’t think Love was particularly close to being ready to start last year, but the Utah State product sounds confident heading into 2021. “A hundred percent,” Love said when asked if he’ll be ready to start come Week 1, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.

Obviously, this is a time where I’m getting a lot of extremely valuable reps that I might not have been getting in a normal circumstance. So I’m just going to take it day by day. … But yeah, that’s what I’m here for. I was drafted here to play quarterback, so I’ll definitely be ready Week 1.

Love, of course, was referring to Rodgers’ holdout from the team’s mandatory minicamp. The 26th pick of last year’s draft also interestingly revealed that he’s stayed in touch with Rodgers this offseason. In fact, Demovsky reports that Love said he spoke with Rodgers shortly before arriving in Green Bay for OTAs.

A lot of Rodgers’ beef with the Packers reportedly stems from the process of selecting Love, which he wasn’t in the loop for, but he apparently hasn’t let that effect his relationship with his young potential successor.

Demovsky writes that Love has been hot and cold so far, struggling one day then having stretches of brilliance the next. Despite being in contact Love said he has no idea what Rodgers is going to do, and that he was “surprised” he elected to skip minicamp.

Despite getting drafted in 2020, Love won’t turn 23 until November. At this point, it seems like there’s a good chance he’s thrown into the fire before then.

Packers To Insist On QB As Part Of Aaron Rodgers Trade?

As of the time of this writing, the Packers have given no public indication that they are planning to capitulate to Aaron Rodgers‘ trade demands. Given the state of the relationship between Rodgers and the team, however, Green Bay brass has certainly had internal conversations about what such a seismic trade would entail.

The Broncos have been the club most closely connected to a Rodgers trade, and early speculation has suggested that Denver (or any team for that matter) would need to part with at least two first-round choices, a second-rounder, and perhaps a quality player. As Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes, the Packers will also require their trading partner to send a QB back to Green Bay.

After all, Rodgers’ new club can reasonably be expected to make a postseason run with the three-time MVP under center, so any draft picks that the Packers acquire would presumably come at the end of a given round. And rumor has it that Green Bay does not believe 2020 first-rounder Jordan Love is ready to become the full-time starter just yet, so it makes sense that the club would insist on having another signal-caller be part of a trade package.

On the other hand, there aren’t many teams that are in a position to trade for Rodgers but that also have a quarterback that Green Bay would consider a worthy replacement for the face of its franchise. The 49ers were an obvious fit before they drafted Trey Lance, and while San Francisco could perhaps be persuaded to deal Jimmy Garoppolo in a separate trade with Green Bay, or as part of a three-team swap, the Niners are now out of the Rodgers sweepstakes.

The Raiders are on Rodgers’ list of preferred destinations, and Las Vegas signal-caller Derek Carr is a quality player who is under contract at a reasonable rate through 2022. Since the Raiders play in the AFC, it seems the foundation for a trade is there, but a Rodgers-Jon Gruden marriage is presently considered unlikely.

The Broncos, meanwhile, are rostering Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater, neither of whom appear capable of leading the Packers to a championship. So even though Denver has the cap space and desire to make a Rodgers deal work, it’s unclear if Green Bay considers the Broncos a viable partner.

Per Silverstein, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur has indicated he will work with Love as though he will be the starter for now, but LaFleur didn’t exactly offer a ringing endorsement of the Utah State product, and he recently indicated he wants Rodgers back “in the worst way.”

Broncos To Aggressively Pursue Aaron Rodgers?

Speculation that the Broncos could push to acquire Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers began to swirl in advance of last week’s draft, though Ian Rapoport of NFL.com indicated that such chatter was overblown. However, subsequent reports suggested that a Rodgers-to-Denver deal could still happen, and those rumors are not going away.

The feeling around the league is that Rodgers will not return to the Packers, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini (video link). Russini adds that Packers brass is “deflated” about the direction this is heading. The team has continued to try and put a good face on the situation and insists that Rodgers will be back in Green Bay in 2021, but that feels like a dubious proposition at this point. And if the Packers ultimately cave and deal the three-time MVP, Russini hears that the Broncos will be the most interested and will present Green Bay with the strongest offer.

Although the Broncos recently acquired Teddy Bridgewater in a trade with the Panthers and are rostering 2019 second-rounder Drew Lock, it’s hard to imagine either player piloting a championship club. The rest of the roster, though, looks strong, and adding Rodgers would immediately make Denver a threat to win the AFC, just like Peyton Manning did nine years ago. So it’s easy to envision GM George Paton doing everything in his power to make that happen.

One way or another, Russini confirms that if a trade is consummated, it will not take place until after June 1, due to the salary cap ramifications. Of course, in addition to those cap concerns and negotiating the best possible deal with the Broncos or any other club, the Packers must also consider their own on-field product. After all, they came devastatingly close to winning the NFC last year, and they will return much of that successful roster in 2021. So will the team be comfortable passing the baton to Jordan Love, the 2020 first-rounder who is at the epicenter of the Rodgers-Packers rift?

Maybe not. Albert Breer of SI.com gets the sense that Green Bay does not necessarily believe Love — who was always considered a developmental prospect — is ready to take the reins. It’s unlikely that there will be any starting-caliber QB options on the free agent or trade markets, so assuming Love is truly not prepared, the Packers will really be in a bind if they can’t mend fences with Rodgers.

In addition to the Love issue, there are other factors contributing to this Spring of Rodgers’ Discontent, one of which is rather surprising. Rapoport says that the “death knell” of the relationship was when the team cut WR Jake Kumerow last September, right after Rodgers publicly referred to him as one of the team’s most reliable receivers (video link). Though Kumerow became something of a cult hero during his time in Green Bay, it would be odd for his release to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, but such is the enigma of Rodgers. For what it’s worth, Kumerow ultimately appeared in six games in 2020, all with the Bills. He recorded one catch for 22 yards.

Rapoport also confirms that Rodgers was hoping for an extension that would cement his status as the Packers’ starter until he chooses to retire, and that he wants a say in personnel decisions. Veteran NFL reporter John Clayton says that the team’s overall approach to the wide receiver position (and not just Kumerow’s apparently calamitous release) has also played a major role in the impasse. Although GM Brian Gutekunst has only been the team’s top decision-maker since 2018, Green Bay’s first choice in each of the last 10 drafts was used on a defensive player, and Rodgers’ frustration has reached the breaking point.

Former NFL agent Joel Corry offers a two-pronged approach by which the Packers might placate Rodgers. The first step, Corry says, would be trading Love, and the second would be giving Rodgers the extension he wants. Rodgers has three years remaining on his current contract, and while it’s exceedingly rare for a team to authorize an extension for a player who is still under club control for three seasons, the Cardinals did provide a blueprint for such a maneuver when they extended DeAndre Hopkins last year.

As Corry notes, Rodgers will want to top Patrick Mahomes‘ record $45MM AAV, and that would mean adding $90MM of new money over a five-year term (the three years on his current deal plus a two-year extension). Ultimately, though, Corry doesn’t believe the Packers will go that route, because he does not believe the team wants to deviate from its original plan of having Love succeed Rodgers when the time is right. Unfortunately for Green Bay, Rodgers might be forcing the team to throw Love into the fire before he’s ready.

Aaron Rodgers Won’t Return To Packers Under Current GM?

Aaron Rodgers‘ issues with the Packers have dominated this draft weekend, and the executive who selected Jordan Love last year appears to be in the reigning MVP’s crosshairs.

The future Hall of Fame quarterback wants out of Green Bay and is willing to threaten retirement. A key part of Rodgers’ disenchantment with the Packers: fourth-year GM Brian Gutekunst. Rodgers is adamant he will not return to the Packers as long as Gutekunst is leading the front office, Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com reports.

Packers president Mark Murphy is aware of Rodgers’ issues with Gutekunst, Robinson adds. Gutekunst, who succeeded the late Ted Thompson as Packers GM in 2018, rose up from Green Bay’s front office. While Gutekunst has been more active in free agency than his predecessor and was in place when Rodgers signed his current extension in 2018, the Jordan Love pick — made without any consultation with Rodgers — continues to drive a wedge between the 13-year Packers starter and the GM.

Rodgers initially believed Gutekunst sought to move on from him after 2020. The GM has said the team remains committed to Rodgers, though the Love pick has clouded the prospect of Rodgers finishing his career in Green Bay. The veteran said in 2020 he no longer viewed that as realistic and has proceeded this offseason with an uncertain tone about his future in Wisconsin. Unsuccessful meetings between Gutekunst, Murphy and Rodgers escalated to this impasse becoming public Thursday.

The 37-year-old superstar/aspiring Jeopardy! host presented the Packers with an extension proposal this offseason, according to Robinson, that would essentially lock him in for two more seasons. The Packers, however, did not initially want to do anything beyond a restructure. While the team may have become more receptive to a new deal, its year-to-year approach remains in place as of draft weekend.

Rodgers indicated in 2018 he wanted to play into his 40s, which differs from Brett Favre‘s year-to-year timeline in the 2000s. Favre’s successor now would prefer to play past 40 in a different uniform.

If a trade is to occur, it would likely take place beyond June 1. The Packers could spread out Rodgers’ $38.4MM dead-money hit over multiple years that way. The Broncos, Raiders and 49ers reside on Rodgers’ wish list, and although the Rodgers-to-Denver buzz that surfaced Thursday evening appears overblown, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes that scenario is possible — especially after the team passed on Justin Fields at No. 9 overall (video link).

This impasse shows no signs of slowing down, and if Rodgers’ stance remains by the time the Packers report to minicamp in June, the prospect of Love going into training camp as the team’s starter increases.

QB Rumors: Patriots, Raiders, Lock, Love

If the Patriots do not opt to make a trade up for one of this draft’s top five quarterback prospects, or if none falls to New England at No. 15, the team could conceivably turn to Jimmy Garoppolo. The Pats, of course, sent Garoppolo to the 49ers nearly four years ago and have a need at quarterback — the Cam Newton re-signing notwithstanding. Tom Brady‘s former backup appears to be on New England’s radar. While a Thursday-morning report indicated Garoppolo is likely to stay put, some in the Patriots organization are wondering if San Francisco will realize keeping Garoppolo and the quarterback it selects at No. 3 overall tonight will not make sense, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes. The Patriots would figure to be at or near the top of Jimmy G’s wishlist, given his familiarity with Josh McDaniels‘ system. Garoppolo has a no-trade clause, giving him say in where he is dealt — if/when he is traded.

On a rather big day for the position, here is the latest from the QB world:

  • Jon Gruden has met with a few of this year’s top quarterback prospects, per Albert Breer of SI.com. Teams were permitted to conduct virtual meetings with an unlimited number of virtual prospects this year, with the pandemic still nixing “30” visits. Perennially linked to aiming for a Derek Carr upgrade, the Raiders have scouted QBs in this class. They have also discussed potential trade-ups from No. 17, Breer adds. Carr is going into Year 4 with Gruden, and although he has played well, the Las Vegas HC has been known to covet other passers from time to time.
  • If the Broncos pull the trigger on a quarterback at No. 9 or trade up from that position to snag one, Breer notes Drew Lock would be expected to go on the trade block as soon as Friday. The Broncos would certainly not recoup a second-rounder for their former second-round QB choice, but Breer notes the Vikings and Panthers would be teams in the Lock mix in this scenario. The Vikings have acquired two ex-Bronco QBs in recent years — Trevor Siemian and Kyle Sloter — to back up Kirk Cousins, while the Panthers just dealt Teddy Bridgewater to Denver. Bridgewater would make sense as a mentor to a quarterback the Broncos select — Justin Fields or Trey Lance perhaps — but Lock would not have a place on the team in this scenario.
  • The Packers are running away with the draft-day news cycle lead, despite not picking until No. 29 tonight. The Aaron Rodgers saga hitting a fever pitch thrusts Jordan Love back into the spotlight. Despite Green Bay’s first-round pick last year receiving zero regular-season snaps, the team remains high on him and is pleased by his development, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets. The Packers let QB2 Tim Boyle go this offseason, moving Love up to Rodgers’ primary backup. Rodgers appears keen on letting Love receive another promotion.

Packers Will Not Tender QB Tim Boyle

The Packers’ quarterback depth chart may change soon. Green Bay is not planning to tender restricted free agent Tim Boyle, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes (video link).

Boyle has served as Aaron Rodgers‘ backup, a role he held over Jordan Love throughout the 2020 season. Love, however, could be set to move up. It would cost Green Bay $2.2MM to tender Boyle at the original-round level. He will now become an unrestricted free agent.

While the Packers could opt to retain Boyle at a lower cost, it would make sense for Love to move up and begin to dress for games in his second season. Almost every quarterback chosen in Round 1 since Rodgers has started games as a rookie; Love was not even active for any Packers contests. He is expected to be Green Bay’s QB2 next season, Garafolo adds.

A UDFA out of Eastern Kentucky, Boyle has not started a game for the Packers. He has worked in mop-up duty frequently, playing in 11 contests over the past two seasons. The Packers allowed Brett Hundley to defect to the Cardinals in free agency in 2019, leaving Boyle behind Rodgers. Despite the team trading up for Love last year, Boyle remained the team’s top backup.