In three short months, Jordan Love has gone from the future of the Green Bay Packers to a player general manager Brian Gutekunst should consider moving ahead of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline. And it has nothing to do with how Love has played — because he hasn’t really played at all.
Rather, the Packers could probably be convinced to move Love (for the right price) because Aaron Rodgers is happy playing for Green Bay again, or so it seems. The Packers are 6-1. They’re listening to Rodgers on personnel matters. And they’re showing a YOLO approach to player acquisition that befits a franchise that has a generational talent who is pushing 40.
Should the Green Bay Packers trade Jordan Love?
So will Rodgers remain with the Packers going forward? Or is Love handed the reins in 2022? Let’s explore both sides of the argument.
Pros of trading Jordan Love
The biggest pro: It will make Green Bay’s future Hall of Fame quarterback very, very happy. Rodgers would be far more likely to remain with the organization going forward. The Packers gambled in April 2020 that Rodgers was approaching the sunset of his career. They were wrong. He was the league MVP in 2020. He’s a top-three quarterback in 2021, based on QBR (66.3) and Expected Points Added/Completion Percentage Over Expected composite (.183).
Rodgers is playing so well that unless Love is the second coming of, well, Aaron Rodgers, the Packers would be foolish to reboot the franchise this winter. Plus, the 2022 NFL Draft’s quarterback class looks to be the weakest in years. Teams might believe that a Year 3 Jordan Love is more valuable than anyone they could select and pay up accordingly. Love showed growth in the 2021 preseason — completing 24-of-35 for 271 yards and a touchdown — but did throw a bad pick in the finale that didn’t leave Matt LaFleur overly enthused.
“I think for the most part he’s done a nice job,” he said. “Certainly these are teachable moments, and I think you have to experience those and go through those in a game setting to really learn from them, so I’m pretty certain that he will learn from those mistakes and hopefully he doesn’t repeat them.”
Will Aaron Rodgers stay in Green Bay?
If the Packers can get assurances from Rodgers that the issues that had him mulling retirement over the summer are over and he’s all-in with the club in 2022 and beyond, they should absolutely see what the market will bear for Love. Based on Rodgers’ comments after the Packers’ Week 6 win over the Bears, there’s definitely been a thawing between the Green Bay’s quarterback and GM.
“When I walked off the field it just didn’t feel like the last time for whatever reason,” Rodgers said.
Cons of trading Jordan Love
Trading Love would bet your entire franchise on a famously moody quarterback. There’s nothing stopping Rodgers from simply changing his mind in January if the Packers flame out in the playoffs again.
Rodgers could force a trade out of town a few months after Love is dealt. If that happens, the Packers will have a bunch of draft picks and have no quarterbacks.
The organization would almost certainly then embark upon a complete rebuild. That’s particularly true since the Packers are an estimated $30 million or so over the 2022 cap. Five players — Rodgers, Za’Darius Smith, David Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark, and Preston Smith — account for roughly two-thirds of Green Bay’s salary cap obligations next year.
Are the Packers sellers at the NFL trade deadline?
Probably not. But if Love gets dealt before this year’s deadline and Rodgers exits in 2022, expect a firesale of the team’s biggest stars. There would be at least one and probably multiple really bad years in Green Bay. And the Packers could do all that and still not find Rodgers’ replacement in the draft.
There’s also the possibility that the Packers were right about Rodgers’ eventual decline — they were just a couple of years premature. Say they trade Love, and Rodgers falls off a cliff physically in 2022. That’s the worst possible outcome. Green Bay would begin its organizational reboot in 2023 with far fewer assets to execute the rebuild.