The Green Bay Packers continue to wait for a decision from quarterback Aaron Rodgers about his future. Will Rodgers choose to retire, return to Green Bay or ask for a trade? With the new league year and free agency just around the corner, a decision should be coming soon.

One player whose future is tied to Rodgers’ decision is current backup quarterback Jordan Love. Love has been on the Packers roster for three years now, serving as the third string quarterback during his rookie campaign before stepping into the backup role for the last two.

Teammates and members of the Packers front office seem to have noticed a big jump in Love’s progress in 2022 and many have declared him ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.

Midseason, veteran inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell declared him ready to start in the NFL. “He’s a starting quarterback,” Campbell said in November after practicing against Love throughout the year. “He’s better than a lot of quarterbacks in this – a lot of starting quarterbacks.”

After the season, running back Aaron Jones also chimed in on Love’s readiness to start. When asked about Rodgers’ potential departure, Jones said, “If he’s here, great, we love it. If he’s not, we’ll be sad. We’d lose one of our leaders, one of our great locker room guys. It’s hard to replace somebody like that. But I think if that was to happen, Jordan is definitely ready.”

GM Brian Gutekunst also was extremely confident Love is ready to start. “I just think comfortable in the offense, and confidence in it, I guess, is the biggest thing. I think he was making quicker decisions and just letting it rip more. He was thinking less and playing more,” Gutekunst said during the NFL Scouting Combine. “Certainly, he didn’t get a lot of opportunity during the season to go out there and perform, but he did, we thought he executed very well. I know, just watching him through practice, not only in the offseason last year and training camp but into the season, how he approached the weeks, there was just a different level of intensity week in and week out than there had been prior.”

If Rodgers retires or demands a trade, Love is almost certainly going to be the starter in Green Bay in 2023. But if Rodgers returns, Love may not want to serve as the backup for a fourth year. It only makes sense. Love is entering the final year of his entry-level contract. He will turn 25 during the upcoming season. Each season he sits further reduces his earnings capacity and the amount of money a team would offer him when he goes to sign his next contract whether that’s after the 2023 season or after 2024 if the Packers pick up his fifth-year option.

One Packers reporter, Jason Wilde, was confident Love will demand a trade if he’s not going to start this coming season.

“I think he very clearly, even though he wouldn’t flat-out say it, he does not want to sit for another year. So, if we get to year four, and Rodgers does come back, I am fairly confident that he will seek a trade.”

If Love demands a trade, what could the Packers get for him? Could Love get a first-round pick in return so the Packers would recoup the investment they made when they drafted him in 2020? The NFL is a quarterback driven league and there are more teams than quality quarterbacks. Even after Rodgers, Derek Carr and several others find homes, there will still be more teams looking for an upgrade at the position.

Gutekunst should be able to get the Packers at least a second-round pick in a trade depending on how many teams would be involved in bidding on Love.

The alternative is for Gutekunst to try to convince Love to stay as the backup for one more season, exercise his fifth-year option and then all but guarantee Love that he would be the starter in 2024 IF Rodgers won’t be back that season. Of course, knowing what Rodgers would do in 12 months is tough to project when the team still doesn’t even know what Rodgers will do this season.

Overall, Gutekunst has to figure out the future of his two quarterbacks, what’s best for the Packers in the short term and long term and what he could get in return by trading either of them. Hopefully, we have answers before the start of the new league year.




Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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