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While the news surrounding Aaron Rodgers has been filled with will-he-play-won’t-he intrigue, as well as curious approaches to mental clarity and, yes, jet fuel for the New York Jets cross-country flight, it almost misses the point about the Green Bay Packers.
They have basically lowered the curtain on an era.
And they’re ready to unveil Jordan Love.
The Packers, you see, are not just planning for the possibility Love will be their new starting quarterback in 2023, they’re pretty much counting on it, per a league source.
“Anything can still happen,” a Green Bay source told OutKick on Tuesday night. “But look around. We are pointed in a certain direction now.”
Aaron Rodgers Era With Packers Ending
This comes a week after Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst insisted “our feelings about Aaron haven’t changed.”
But since then the Packers have basically allowed the Rodgers to meet with and discuss joining another team. The NFL Network reported Green Bay gave the Jets permission to discuss options with their player and that’s what happened the last two days.
So, quite obviously, the Packers are doing what is necessary to make trading Rodgers to the Jets a reality.
There are multiple reasons the Packers are going this direction and all together it gets kind of complicated.
Just understand Rodgers is nearing the end of his career anyway, be it in Green Bay or elsewhere, so it’s wise for the Packers to have a plan for the immediate future.
Diminishing Returns For Rodgers In Green Bay?
Rodgers, 39, didn’t play at his usual level last season. He threw 26 touchdown passes which is tied for the second-fewest in his career.
The quarterback didn’t show any commitment to the team’s offseason program and OTAs in that he didn’t show up, which likely had repercussions on the season when he and his young receivers were clearly not on the same page early on.
Rodgers, in short, can be exhausting for some within the Packers organization. Multiple local reporters with longtime connections to the team have reported on this. And when Rodgers’s production no longer rises to superstar levels but his demands remain there, it merits a decision.
All of that plus the fact Rodgers still has value on the trade market — at least in a deal to the Jets — makes the Packers move toward a divorce logical.
But all of that, apparently, is trumped by this fact:
The Packers seem sold on Love now. They think he’s ready.
So moving on from Rodgers isn’t the gargantuan void to them it seems on paper.
Packers Believe Jordan Love Is Ready
“We’re excited about him,” Gutekunst said about Love at last week’s NFL Combine. “I think I’ve expressed to a lot of people that he needs to play. That’s the next step in his progression. He needs to play. Jordan’s done a great job working hard, so he’s doing everything we’re asking.”
Love, 24, will be in his fourth season after being selected in the first round of the 2020 draft. He has started only one game. But the Packers believe he’s ready because he’s advanced in multiple areas, many having to do with how he thinks about the game.
“I just think the [comfort] of the offense and the confidence in it, I guess, is the biggest thing,” Gutekunst said. “I think he was just making quicker decisions and just letting it rip a little bit more. And I think he was thinking less and playing more.
“Certainly, he didn’t get a lot of opportunity during the season to go out there and perform. When he did, we thought he executed very well. But I know just watching him through practice, not only in the offseason last year, 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.”
It should be clear that Rodgers still has not decided if he even wants to play in 2023. Part of the Jets work the past couple of days was to pitch him to do that and do it with the Jets.
But whatever Rodgers decides, the Packers believe they’re ready.
The team is ready to being the Jordan Love era.