The Green Bay Packers have a short window of a year, or perhaps two, to either install Jordan Love as their quarterback of the future or trade him while his value remains substantial.
Moving an asset like Love is complicated. His first-round draft status and manageable contract make him a sought after prospect, but his lack of production and the lack of an adequate sample size on which to accurately judge it present meaningful question marks. Timing is also an issue, as Love has two years remaining on his rookie deal, to which the Packers can add a fifth season by exercising a team option by next offseason.
That Love ultimately exits Green Bay via a trade appears more likely now than ever, after two-time reigning MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers just signed the richest annual extension in NFL history, which will pay him nearly $151 million over the next three seasons. But the Packers don’t have to rush a deal for Love. They have the luxury of waiting for the right offer. That said, they can’t wait too long and risk missing an opportunity to move a redundant player on their roster for peak value.
There is a chance the iron might be hottest for Green Bay over the next couple of weeks, as Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson awaits what could prove a lengthy suspension due to two dozen allegations of sexual misconduct levied against the former member of the Houston Texans. If the Packers can get a third-round pick or better from the Browns in return for Love, it might prove too good of a deal to pass up.
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Packers Willing to Listen to Trade Proposals on Love
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported in May that the Packers will consider dealing Love for the right price, implying that the team is listening but has yet to hear an offer from any potential suitors matching their desired haul.
“I do think they had some interest [during draft weekend]. I don’t think they had any offer that would make it so they had to move on from [Love],” Rapoport said on the Pat McAfee Show on May 10. “I guarantee somebody would trade a fifth-rounder for Jordan Love. I’m sure somebody would trade a fourth-rounder for Jordan Love. But is that enough for the Packers?”
“Now, if someone is willing to give maybe a [second-rounder], definitely; or a [third-rounder], maybe. Then I think [the Packers] would say, ‘You know what, we’ll take the [trade], we’ll sign a veteran backup, and we’ll deal with it,'” Rapoport added. “It’s just the value hasn’t come close to meeting what they would do it for.”
Browns Can Make Packers Offer They Can’t Refuse
Despite all they gave up to acquire Watson via trade this offseason, Browns hold the rights to eight draft picks in 2023 including a second-round selection and a third-round selection, per the team’s official website.
After guaranteeing Watson $230 million over the next five years, Cleveland has officially passed the point of no return on activating “win-now mode.” The team always suspected a possible suspension for Watson, but alienated their best option to replace him in Baker Mayfield by the very act of acquiring Watson in the first place.
The Browns signed Jacoby Brissett who has been a below average starter across six NFL seasons, sporting a win/loss record of 14-23 with the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts, respectively. Cleveland also added Josh Dobbs, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers, though he has thrown just 17 passes in the regular season since seeing his first action in 2018.
All signs indicate that the Browns simply don’t have enough at the position with Watson out, and Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported Friday, July 15, that the team will pursue another signal caller should he receive a lengthy suspension.
The length of Watson’s punishment may well dictate in which direction the Browns ultimately choose to go. The NFL is asking for a full season on the sidelines for the embattled QB with the option to apply for reinstatement afterwards, while the NFL Players Association is pushing for the exact opposite outcome.
Should Watson miss most, or all of, the season, a longer-term solution like Love or Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers might make the most sense. If Watson’s suspension is half of the year or less, a security blanket like Cam Newton behind Brissett may be the better answer.
If the former proves the case and Watson is sidelined for the long haul, it is hard to imagine the Browns would consider a third-round pick, or even a second-rounder, too steep of a price to potentially save what will already be expensive season.
As for the Packers, they may never be able to garner that kind of value for Love on the open market again, particularly if he goes another full season playing almost exclusively minutes that don’t matter.
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