Tim Boyle will still be backing up an NFC North quarterback in 2021.
According to ESPN’s Michael Rothstein, Boyle has signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Lions to become their new backup quarterback behind the recently-acquired Jared Goff. The 26-year-old former undrafted free agent spent the past two seasons as Aaron Rodgers’ primary backup with the Green Bay Packers but never took any meaningful in-game reps.
At the same time, Boyle knows the divisional terrain and comes from a successful offensive system sitting behind one of the best in the business. He also showed competitive flashes during the 2019 preseason, completing 34 of his 57 passes for 356 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions to beat out former second-round pick DeShone Kizer for a roster spot.
Boyle seems to be the favorite to land No. 2 on the depth chart behind Goff — who was traded to the Lions along with two first-round picks and a third-round pick in exchange for Matthew Stafford — but the role won’t be handed to him. He will presumably have to compete in training camp with former Purdue quarterback David Blough.
The financial figures associated with Boyle’s new deal have not yet been reported.
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How Boyle’s Departure Impacts Jordan Love
The Packers made the future of their quarterback room a little clearer when they decided against tendering Boyle as a restricted free agent this offseason. While he was versed in the system and had earned high praise from the Packers’ brass previously, the selection of first-round quarterback Jordan Love in the 2020 NFL draft put an unavoidable ticking clock on his time in Green Bay and made the separation inevitable.
The exciting news for Packers fans is Boyle’s departure now sets the stage for a 2021 preseason debut of Love. Even if the NFL adds a 17th regular-season game and subtracts one or two of their exhibition games, there will still be a few opportunities for the former Utah State product to finally show how much of a handle he has on the Packers’ offense.
Love spent his entire rookie season as the Packers’ third-string quarterback, relegated to learning the offense and standing on the sidelines for the occasional pregame TV shot. They didn’t even rule him active for any of their 18 games. And from a development perspective, that all seems to have worked out just fine. Rodgers won his third career NFL MVP and dominated the league, and Boyle was never trotted out for much more than kneel-downs.
The question now is whether Love’s first real preseason will make his selection more or less polarizing among fans.