Aaron Rodgers’ future with the Green Bay Packers is the talk of the NFL world, but there’s another quarterback who will be affected by Rodgers’ decision: Jordan Love, whom Green Bay selected in the first round of the 2020 draft. How will the Packers navigate Love’s contract, depending on whether Rodgers stays in Green Bay or is traded to another team?
Jordan Love’s Contract Details
The Packers moved up to draft Love in 2020, swapping their 30th pick and a fourth-rounder in exchange for the Miami Dolphins’ 26th selection. Love was the fourth quarterback selected in the first round of that year’s draft, following Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, and Justin Herbert.
Love soon signed his slotted rookie contract, a four-year deal worth $12.4 million. Because he was a first-round pick, the entirety of Love’s pact is fully guaranteed. His cap charges are as follows: $2.3 million (2020), $2.8 million (2021), $3.4 million (2022), and $3.9 million (2023).
Love’s accord also came with a fifth-year option for the 2024 season. The Packers must exercise or decline Love’s option by May 1, 2023. Under the terms of the most recent collective bargaining agreement, that option will be fully guaranteed for skill, cap, and injury purposes.
The fifth-year option is based on the average of the third- to 25th-highest salaries at the player’s position over the past five seasons. A player’s fifth-year option can increase if he meets certain playtime thresholds or makes Pro Bowls, but none of those considerations apply to Love. Thus, his 2024 fifth-year option is projected to cost $20.272 million.
What Happens if Aaron Rodgers Is Traded?
Rodgers is currently contemplating his future with the Packers. He can drive a trade to the New York Jets — who sent a contingent to California to meet with Rodgers on March 7 — or another team this offseason.
If Green Bay trades Rodgers before June 1, it will take on $40.3 million in dead money. Because Rodgers’ cap charge on the roster is only $31.6 million, the Packers will sacrifice $8.9 million in cap space by dealing the future Hall of Famer.
Although Green Bay would absorb a dead cap charge that rivals the largest in league history by trading Rodgers, Love’s rookie contract would enable the club to afford to move on from Rodgers. With Love set to count for just $3.9 million on the Packers’ 2023 cap, taking on a massive dead money hit starts to appear more palatable.
The Packers could attempt to wait until after June 1 to trade Rodgers, which would allow them to spread out his dead money over the next two seasons. In that scenario, they’d take on $15.8 million in 2023 and $24.5 million in 2024.
Green Bay would presumably exercise Love’s fifth-year option if it trades Rodgers, meaning the club would have nearly $45 million in 2024 cap space devoted to their two quarterbacks — only one of whom would remain on the roster.
If the Packers felt Love was their long-term answer under center, they could give him an extension and reduce his cap charge for the 2024 campaign.
What Happens if Rodgers Stays in Green Bay?
If Rodgers decides to stay with the Packers, a clock will start on Love’s tenure in Green Bay. 2023 wouldn’t necessarily be a problem — Love’s cap charge is so low that the Packers could afford to keep both quarterbacks on the roster.
But Green Bay probably wouldn’t be able to risk exercising Love’s 2024 option. Rodgers is scheduled to have a $40.7 million cap charge in 2024. Add in Love’s option, and the Packers would have almost $60 million in cap space devoted to their signal-callers.
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In that scenario, Green Bay would likely have to trade Love to the highest bidder this offseason or lose him to the open market in 2024. Love has made one NFL start and attempted just 83 pro passes, so it’s unclear what the Packers could get in return.
Love’s Net Worth
Through three NFL seasons, Love has earned $10.1 million in salary from the Packers. By the end of the 2023 season, he will have collected his entire rookie contract total of $12.4 million.