The loss represents a devastating blow to the Packers’ chances at the playoffs, with a 4-7 record and games remaining against the Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings — all teams leading their respective divisions.
But the disappointment of this season also presents the Packers with a silver lining: an opportunity to finally test drive backup quarterback Jordan Love.
Packers’ Failures in 2022 Allow Team to Plan Better For Future
An argument can be made for keeping Rodgers in the starting lineup for one more game, as Green Bay now has 10 days to prepare for a road trip to Philadelphia. If the Packers win that contest, they can justify continuing to start Rodgers in winnable matchups on the road against the Chicago Bears and at home against the banged up Los Angeles Rams.
But even then, at a wildly hypothetical 7-7, the postseason remains a long shot. Furthermore, if Love is the answer under center once Rodgers’ reign is over, then he’s the answer for the next decade. Can the team really justify throwing away a chance to know for sure on a short-sighted push for an unlikely playoff berth that would almost certainly end several wins shy of a Lombardi Trophy?
Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report on Friday laid out the case for moving onto Love immediately and shelving Rodgers for at least the rest of the season.
Green Bay used a 2020 first-round pick on Utah State product Jordan Love, but his chances behind Rodgers have been few and far between.
The 24-year-old has only made one start, thrown 71 passes and has a career 71.6 quarterback rating. That’s not much of a résumé, and the Packers have to decide this offseason whether to exercise Love’s fifth-year option.
If the season ended right now, the Packers would hold the 12th overall pick. That might be too low for a prospect like C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young, but quarterbacks like Will Levis and Anthony Richardson could be available.
If the Packers aren’t sold on Love, they need to seriously consider using their top pick on another quarterback. The end may be coming sooner than many expected for Rodgers, who openly admitted that he wasn’t good enough on Thursday.
“I’ve got to throw the ball better than I did tonight,” Rodgers said during his postgame press conference. “Not a lot of margin for error for us, and definitely not against a team that gives you some opportunities. We’ve got to have those plays.”
“I felt like fundamentally I was in a good spot,” the QB continued. “I just didn’t have the same type of consistent grip and [the] ball coming out the same way. I threw a lot of kind of wobblers tonight. There was some wind. Just missed a few throws I should have had.”
Green Bay’s QB Conundrum Has Massive Financial Implications
Rodgers has been dealing with a thumb injury for several weeks. If that was part of the issue with the multiple throws he missed, then Love makes even more sense as the starter to guarantee Rodgers doesn’t do permanent damage to his throwing hand.
The biggest issue here, though, isn’t Rodgers’ health or the Packers’ prospects for the remainder of 2022. It’s money, and how the franchise can best spend it moving forward.
Love’s fifth-year option is likely to slate in around $20 million for the 2024 season, but the Packers need to make a call on whether or not to pick it up by next May. If it turns out he can’t play, there’s nothing to discuss. Keep him on the roster as a fail safe behind Rodgers next year then let him go, or trade him at some point before that.
If Love is the answer, the Packers can seek out a trade partner for Rodgers and try to get off the remainder of a three-year extension worth more than $150 million guaranteed. Love represents just a $4 million cap hit in 2023, and Rodgers’ departure would open up $31.6 million in cap space to build a better roster around the young quarterback.
The $40 million Green Bay would save in 2024 by dealing Rodgers would be more than enough to offset the approximately $20 million they’d pay to keep Love that season on his fifth-year option.