The Green Bay Packers had to decide on Jordan Love’s fifth-year option for 2024 by today, but they’ve instead come up with a more creative solution. The Packers and Love have agreed to a one-year extension through 2024 worth up to $22.5 million and includes $13.5 million fully guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Green Bay Packers Extend Jordan Love Through 2024
Love’s fifth-year option would have been worth $20.272 million, so he now has the chance to earn more money in 2024. However, given that reports indicate his extension is worth “up to” $22.5 million, it’s likely an incentive-laden deal.
Additionally, Love’s option would have been fully guaranteed. Fifth-year options were previously guaranteed for injury only. If a player had a poor fourth season, the team could cut them before their fifth campaign and escape the rest of the contract, provided the player wasn’t injured.
But the most recent collective bargaining agreement changed that. Beginning with the 2018 draft class, fifth-year options — which apply only to first-round draft picks — became fully guaranteed.
That changed the paradigm for many clubs, and the Packers are among them. Buried behind Aaron Rodgers on Green Bay’s depth chart for the past three seasons, Love has just one career NFL start and 83 pass attempts under his belt. The Packers clearly didn’t feel comfortable guaranteeing him more than $20 million in 2024, as evidenced by general manager Brian Gutekunst’s comments on Monday.
“We’re kind of still working through that,” Gutekunst said. “We’ve been so focused on the draft. We’ve had some preliminary conversations, but we’ll get to that before Tuesday. It’s a lot of money for a guy who hasn’t played. But at the same time, obviously, we’re moving forward with him.”
Love, who will have earned $12.3 million by the end of the 2023 season, decided to take the bird in the hand. Green Bay might’ve given him an ultimatum: accept this extension offer or see your fifth-year option declined. Given his lack of an NFL résumé, it makes sense for Love to accept some guaranteed money with the potential to earn slightly more than his fifth-year option would have paid.
The Packers Can Still Draft a Quarterback in 2024
Love’s contract extension gives the Packers financial flexibility and provides them with optionality in next year’s draft.
If Love bombs in 2023, nothing is stopping Green Bay from drafting another quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft. Sure, the Packers would have to eat his $13.5 million guarantee in dead money if they released Love, but that’s a rounding error when the salary cap is expected to reach $260 million.
DraftKings has set Green Bay’s 2023 win total at 7.5 games, so betting markets believe the Packers could be in range for a top-10 draft pick. Additionally, Green Bay should receive another first-round choice from the New York Jets, assuming Rodgers plays at least 65% of Gang Green’s offensive snaps next season.
Those two selections could put the Packers in a position to move up even further in next year’s draft and access what is considered a potentially historic class of 2024 quarterbacks, including USC’s Caleb Williams and North Carolina’s Drake Maye.
Green Bay hopes their decision to draft Love three years ago culminates in a decade-plus of success, just as their choice to select Rodgers to replace Brett Favre eventually worked out. But if Love faceplants next season, the Packers will be able to move on and start fresh under center.