The Green Bay Packers currently have one of the most coveted luxuries in the NFL, a backup quarterback with a starter’s potential — and now might be the best time to rid themselves of it.
The aforementioned sentiment perhaps doesn’t appear logical on its face. If every franchise wants the security of a blanket of a second-string signal caller they know they can trust, why should a team like the Packers be in a hurry to move on from a player like Jordan Love?
The answer is they shouldn’t — until a competitor is willing to pay a starter’s price for him. And that time appears to be fast-approaching.
Green Bay is one catastrophic injury, or one appeal ruling on Cleveland Browns‘ quarterback Deshaun Watson, away from moving into an even more enviable position — the ability to trade a first-round quarterback for more than they paid for him, and arguably more than he’s worth, while still maintaining one of the best situations under center in the league.
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Aaron Rodgers’ New Deal With Packers Makes Luxury of Jordan Love Redundant
Trade talk began swirling around Love leading up to the NFL Draft in late April/early May, as the Packers will have to decide by next offseason whether to pick up Love’s fifth-year rookie option. Though the QB is under contract in Green Bay for two more years regardless, the choice on his option is essentially a decision on the entirety of his future with the team.
Alex Kay of Bleacher Report suggested on Monday, August 15, that the Packers do exactly that, striking as soon as the preseason iron reaches its hottest.
Although Rodgers could retire before his current contract expires, Love likely wants to get a real opportunity to start soon and the Packers aren’t going to want to pay big bucks for a backup. Dealing the 23-year-old while his value is still high is looking like the best option for each party.
Putting Love on the block and asking for a ready-to-go contributor in exchange for the young signal-caller would best benefit Green Bay during the few years remaining in this Super Bowl window.
Browns Likely to Hit QB Market When Watson Suspension Made Final
The market could open up for Love soon, as Browns’ QB Deshaun Watson is staring down a suspension that now appears will consume the majority of the season. Watson was suspended six games by independent arbiter Sue L. Robinson, a decision appealed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
The appeal allows Goodell himself to appoint a new arbiter to reconsider the facts of the case, or to do so himself. Goodell chose former Attorney General of New Jersey Peter Harvey to hear said appeal, which remains onging.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Monday that Harvey has not made his decision because he is waiting to see if the NFL and Watson’s camp can reach an agreement.
“Appeals officer Peter Harvey continues to delay his decision in the Deshaun Watson case, apparently not because he’s undecided or procrastinating,” Florio said. “Harvey is believed to be waiting to see whether the league and Watson can work out a deal.”
“The possibility of settlement remains viable, we’re told,” he continued.
That Watson is even back at the negotiating table is an indicator that his punishment will almost certainly increase from six games and will probably include a substantial fine.
That league sources confirmed with Cabot on August 11 that the Browns will entertain the idea of trading for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo if the appeal does result in an increased suspension for Watson is in indicator that Cleveland will almost certainly re-enter the quarterback market in an attempt to upgrade over Browns’ backup QB Jacoby Brissett.
Coincidentally, Love started the Packers’ opening preseason game against the Niners, going 13-of-24 for 176 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. While that stat line is less than stellar, particularly for a preseason game against mostly backups, Love’s play was considerably better than it appears at first glance when afforded the appropriate context.
Packers head coach Matt LaFleur spoke to that context during a media session on Friday, August 12.
I think two of those you can totally take off him. The third one, we had two busted routes because the ball really shouldn’t have gone there on that play, but he had nowhere else to go with the football, and he forced it in there and the defender made a good play.
We’ve just got to clean up everything around him. We say it all the time about quarterbacks, they’re going to get too much credit when we do well and they’re going to get a lot of the blame when we don’t, and that’s just the reality of playing that position in this league. But I was pleased with Jordan’s performance.