The Green Bay Packers have had a better offseason than you think.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell on Tuesday, May 30, ranked Green Bay’s offseason the fifth-best in the NFL. His first bullet point was the return that general manager Brian Gutekunst got back from the New York Jets in exchange for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“Rodgers netted Green Bay a second-round pick in 2023, a jump of two spots in the first round and a pick that will likely become a first-rounder in 2024,” Barnwell wrote. “If we play it neutrally and assume the Jets send the No. 16 overall pick to the Packers for Rodgers next year, Gutekunst landed the equivalent of the No. 6 overall pick in a typical draft by the Jimmy Johnson chart, or the third pick on the Chase Stuart chart.”
Barnwell added that the feat the Packers front office pulled off was even more impressive considering the circumstances surrounding Rodgers’ offseason, including his historic contract and open discussion of retirement.
“Rodgers is 39 years old and coming off a season in which he was average to below average in most statistical categories,” Barnwell wrote. “He was considering retirement during the offseason, was due $108.7 million over the next two years and publicly announced he wanted to play for the Jets. The Packers could only negotiate with one team, and they didn’t have the financial flexibility to bring him back if the Jets weren’t interested. To walk that tightrope and still land a top-six pick in terms of trade value is incredible negotiating.”
Packers Hit Home Run With Jordan Love Contract Extension
Barnwell also pointed to Gutekunst’s negotiating tactics where long-time backup quarterback Jordan Love is concerned.
The Packers could have picked up Love’s fifth-year option for the 2024 campaign at a price of $20.3 million. Instead, Love agreed to a one-year deal worth $13.5 million. That move not only saved Green Bay a substantial amount of money, unless Love hits several of his $9 million in contract incentives, but it also affords the team two years to see what it has in the former first-round pick.
Barnwell acknowledged that the Packers may have dropped the ball by failing to secure a veteran backup behind Love as an insurance policy against injury or severe first-year struggles, although the team still has some time to look for a player who can offer Love some tutelage as he navigates his new job.
Green Bay May Still Add Safety, Pass Rusher This Summer
With training camp still nearly two months out, Green Bay’s offseason isn’t over just yet. The Packers have nearly $16.6 million in 2023 salary cap space and a couple of holes yet to fill on defense.
The first, and most pressing, is at the safety position. Adrian Amos, who filled that role in Green Bay for the last four seasons, remains a free agent and could return to the team if he can’t find a better offer on the open market.
The second is off the edge, where outside linebacker and elite pass rusher Rashan Gary has left a void as he rehabilitates from a torn ACL suffered during the middle of last season. Leonard Floyd is a legitimate candidate to fill that spot and can fall back into the Packers’ pass-rush rotation once Gary returns.