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The Packers traded up to take Jordan Love 26th overall in the recent NFL Draft. It became probably the biggest story out of the Draft as everyone wondered what that meant for the future of Aaron Rodgers as how he’d react, what his future will be, and whether the front office should have gotten him help at wide receiver.
Rodgers discussed what went through his mind with Kyle Brandt in the launch of his new pod at The Ringer; the Packers’ QB said that his initial reaction to the news was to pour four fingers of tequila, and seems to recognize that the team could move on from him at some point:
At some point, the Packers have to make a decision between Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love.
So what does @AaronRodgers12 think the franchise will do?
— The Ringer (@ringer) July 28, 2020
Rodgers said he found out while he was watching the Draft on TV — he saw the Packers traded up, and then he got a text from his marketing agent that just said “quarterback.” Was he okay? “I was fine,” Rodgers said. “I wasn’t elated by the pick, especially being one game away from the Super Bowl and feeling like we’re a couple players away, but at the same time I understand it’s a business. I know that’s the reality.”
Rodgers addressed the idea that it was a parallel to when he was picked behind Favre, but refuted that notion in the sense that this past year’s team won more games and got closer to the Super Bowl, and that Favre had been openly discussing retirement for a few years whereas he’s been talking about playing many more seasons.
Nonetheless, Rodgers sees the parallels with age and lived through what Jordan Love now has waiting for him — getting selected to possibly succeed a legend (my words not his). He says he called Love the next day and congratulated him on accomplishing a childhood team and that he understands how the business works.
Rodgers also said the expectations have changed as far as how long quarterbacks sit before they play. When he sat behind Favre for several years, that was the norm. He seems resigned to ultimately moving on.
“Quarterbacks are playing earlier,” Rodgers said. “It gives some latitude for young coaches and GMs to play their guys. And I get it. I really do. I don’t harbor any ill will about it. Was I bummed out? Of course. Who wouldn’t be? I wanted to play my entire career in Green Bay. I love the city. I grew up there really. I got there when I was 21. I’m 36 now. You know, a lot changes during that time. But look. I get it. I see it completely clearly and I’m not bitter about it. It is what it is.”
The decision to pick Jordan Love and not fortify the team for the end of Rodgers’ window was picked apart by the media, and I get their point. But as a Packers fan, I’m actually pretty optimistic about the pick. I know that Rodgers is a professional who doesn’t need extra motivation, but I believe he’ll have an extra chip on his shoulder to hold Love off.
Even though he sounds resigned to the Packers moving on from him at some point, his mindset should be to hold Love off for years. In the three seasons after the Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo, Brady won two Super Bowls and the franchise ultimately chose to keep him and recoup some value for Jimmy G from the 49ers.
Let’s see Rodgers harness the same vengeance as the years he spent proving to all haters, real and perceived, that he should’ve been taken before Alex Smith and not dropped to 24th.
I recognize that the Packers are deficient at wide receiver behind Davante Adams. However, I believe there’s a world where Allen Lazard can blossom into a solid second passing option. The team is going to have a great running attack. Aaron Jones is an elite back in the lightning role and I’m intrigued to see what 2nd round pick AJ Dillon from Boston College can do as thunder.
Also, I haven’t seen this mentioned very much but why couldn’t the Packers utilize Jordan Love in a playmaking role a la Taysom Hill? It could add a whole new element to the offense.
Very few people can sit here with any real qualified certainty that they know whether Jordan Love will eventually be good or not, but I still like where the Packers are situated right now. Are they the odds on favorite in the NFC? No, that’s the 49ers, but this is going to wind up being a weird variant season and Rodgers remains formidable enough that he always gives Green Bay a puncher’s shot.
As for whether they move on from him, with the world we live in, people will talk about what if he’s out next year. I just don’t see that happening. The dead cap situation on his contract — over $30 million in 2021 — makes it so it’s highly likely he’ll be the Packers’ QB for the next two seasons at the very least. It starts to get interesting in 2022 when, but at that point there is still $17 million in dead cap. This isn’t his last year as Packers quarterback, and it’s still possible he’s in Green Bay for several more.