After some anxious waiting for Green Bay Packers fans, general manager Brian Gutekunst has found a unique way to keep quarterback Jordan Love under contract through the 2024 season.
Tuesday, May 2 was the deadline for teams to sign former 2020 first-round picks to fifth-year options. While plenty of first-round picks secured those options, Love was waiting for Gutekunst and his staff to make a decision on his future despite the 24-year-old only logging one career start in the NFL.
Rather than give Love a $20 million guaranteed fifth-year option, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that the Packers decided instead to give Love a one-year contract extension worth up to $22.5 million with $13.5 guaranteed.
It was a unique situation for both sides, with Love having very little in-game experience and the Packers in a tight cap situation. Instead of having a fully-guaranteed option count against Green Bay’s cap in 2024, the Packers were instead able to create a little more flexibility for the team heading into the post-Aaron Rodgers era.
The Packers Are Setting Love Up For Success in 2023
Despite not taking Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Packers spent plenty of draft capital to surround Love with skill players for his first season as a full-time starter.
The Packers took three pass catchers in the second day of this year’s draft. After taking tight end Luke Musgrave and wideout Jayden Reed in the second round, the Packers double-dipped at tight end by drafting Tucker Kraft in the third round out of South Dakota State.
Along with adding weapons, the Packers also took a seasoned backup quarterback in the fifth round in Sean Clifford, who had been brought in on a top-30 visit prior to the draft. Packers fans weren’t thrilled with the selection, but Clifford’s age and experience will make him a seasoned backup behind Love.
As a former first-round pick, Love now only has two years on his deal, so the Packers seem determined to give him as much help as possible to appropriately evaluate whether or not he can be the team’s franchise QB in 2023 and beyond.
Other Packers News
Despite the draft being such a busy three-day event, the Packers wasted no time making even more moves immediately following the hectic weekend.
The Packers brought in a handful of undrafted free agents following the draft, including the talented but controversial pass rusher Brenton Cox Jr.. Despite flashes of dominance in the SEC, Cox had been dismissed from both Georgia and Florida during his college career, leading to questions about his character heading into this year’s draft.
Outside of bringing in rookies, the Packers also cleared additional cap space for 2023 by restructuring the fifth-year option for former first-round safety Darnell Savage, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. The deal created over $5.4 million in cap space for 2023, creating questions about what the Packers plan to do with this additional space heading into offseason workouts.
With so many restructured contracts and now Rodgers’ deal off the books going forward, Gutekunst could be working to bring in some veteran talent to bolster Green Bay’s roster heading into the 2023 season.