Aaron Rodgers made everybody in Green Bay stew for a few months but finally made his decision on Tuesday, agreeing to return to the Packers. This news will cause all sorts of butterfly effects. Any team hoping to steal Rodgers away from Green Bay will now have to look elsewhere for an answer under center. The Packers can now make decisions with the firm knowledge that their MVP quarterback is around for awhile. We don't know how long, exactly, without contract specifics, but it'll definitely be next year at least.
And then there's Jordan Love. The Packers picked Love at No. 25 in the 2020 NFL Draft, trading up to nab the Utah State QB. Presumably they did this because they figured Rodgers was out the door sooner rather than later. Obviously that isn't the case. With Rodgers back in the fold, the only purpose Love serves is as an insurance option in case Rodgers gets hurt or gets COVID again.
He filled in for that exact reason this past season when Green Bay visited Kansas City and posted a paltry statline of 19 completions on 34 attempts with 190 yards passing, one touchdown, and one interception. It was a very concerning outing for a first-round QB who had spent a year on the bench, was playing with some of the league's best skill position players, and went up against a very bad defense. There very well could be long-term potential there, but right now, Love is a bad quarterback.
That is to be expected to an extent, though. Everybody knew Love was a project and he hasn't seen the field nearly enough to develop any habits, especially not good ones that will help him reach his potential. It's a problem for Green Bay at this juncture because they don't have the luxury of both developing Love and pursuing championships. Love proved in 2021 that he can't be relied upon to win a game if Rodgers is sidelined. It didn't matter last year, but if the Packers cost themselves playoff seeding next year because they have to start Love and not a more proven and capable backup vet that is easily acquirable this offseason, they'll regret it.
It's part of the reason why they should trade Love right now. With how important (and exclusive) first-round byes are now, Green Bay can't afford to let Love use regular season games as learning experiences if Rodgers cannot play. They're much better off trying to find a veteran signal-caller who can make the throws the offense calls for and keep everything running.
But let's not glorify the role of the backup QB. Love isn't much worse than an average second-stringer when looking around the NFL. The biggest reason the Packers need to trade Love now is they'll never get a bigger return than before this year's draft.
As you've probably heard by now, the 2022 NFL Draft is not a good one for quarterbacks. The first QB projected to go off the board is Kenny Pickett, who has tiny little hands and wouldn't have sniffed the first round in last year's class. Any team looking for a young signal-caller to develop will be reaching in the draft to make it happen. There is no clear-cut top prospect and there are no prospects considered to be elite in any sense of the word.
A few of these guys will likely pan out. We aren't sitting here proclaiming this will definitely be the worst QB class of all time. But if Love were in this draft, he would easily slot atop the prospect rankings. The Packers need to take advantage of that.
The Love pick makes more sense now than we gave it credit for at the time. Rodgers is still playing at an elite level but is obviously prone to unpredictability. Regardless of what ends up happening with his contract, he could very well walk away this time next year. We have no idea and we've learned the Packers don't, either. Keeping Love aboard as insurance for that is certainly justifiable. And there's a reputation for Brian Gutekunst to uphold, a successor to find for Rodgers who will take the reins as the next great Packers quarterback.
But it's best to strike when the iron is hot. Love has three years left on his deal and there are surely at least a half-dozen teams who'd be willing to give up premium draft capital to see what he has. If they trade Love and Rodgers takes off at the next available opportunity, it'll sting. Yet trading Love for draft picks that could contribute to a Super Bowl run in 2022 could bring a payoff that would make it all worth it.
There will never be a better time to trade Love. The Packers have to do it now.