Aaron Rodgers will presumably have a new backup quarterback in 2021.
According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, the Green Bay Packers will not be tendering Tim Boyle as a restricted free agent and instead will allow their backup quarterback of the past two seasons to hit unrestricted free agency on March 17. The move sets the stage for 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love to become Rodgers’ primary backup after he spent his rookie year as the No. 3 quarterback.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 12, 2021
The Packers could have placed the lowest tender on Boyle and retained him for about $2.183 million next season, but the presence of Love — who they traded up to take at No. 26 overall in last April’s draft — and their overall cap restrictions this offseason made the decision not to tender him a relatively predictable one.
The Packers may still attempt to re-sign Boyle in free agency, but a two-year tenure as Rodgers’ backup should also earn him some interest from around the league. One possibility could be him landing with the Dallas, where former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy may want a familiar quarterback to back up the newly-extended Dak Prescott.
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Boyle Lacks Real Playing Experience
There is a certain degree of prestige that comes with being Aaron Rodgers’ backup, but Boyle is still a quarterback that comes with a number of question marks for any team eyeing him as a potential addition this offseason.
While Boyle has some sparkling preseason stats — 34-for-57 passing with 356 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in 2019 — and drew high praise from both Rodgers and Packers head coach Matt LaFleur throughout the past two years, his role during the regular season and playoffs has amounted to little more than a human victory cigar thanks to Rodgers’ excellent health.
Boyle has only acted as a passer in one of his 11 career games, completing three of four passes for 15 yards in garbage time of the Packers’ blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers during the 2019 regular season. Meanwhile, he leads the NFL with 18 kneel-downs over the past two seasons with humorous attempts to avoid losing rushing yardage along the way.
Tim Boyle kneeled 18 times the last two seasons. Legend.
Another fun fact: Packers led the NFL in kneeldowns between 2019-2020.
— Zach Kruse (@zachkruse2) March 12, 2021
Fortunately, Boyle’s suitors will be evaluating him as a backup quarterback rather than a new starter. Maybe the situation will be right wherever he lands to compete with the starter in training camp, but it would be hard to confidently hand him the reins without seeing something substantial from him during the 2021 preseason. Regardless of what the Packers do, another top backup spot would seem to be Boyle’s best-case scenario.
Will Packers Add Another Quarterback?
The Packers have their Nos. 1 and 2 quarterbacks in place for the 2021 season, but don’t be surprised if they add some new blood to the position before the start of training camp.
Two seasons ago, Boyle beat out DeShone Kizer to win the role of Rodgers’ backup. He then outperformed Love in 2020 as the first-round rookie struggled to get up to speed following a reduced offseason program. Sure, the Packers could break the trend and pit Love solely against their three-time NFL MVP in his second training camp, but forcing Love to compete for his backup job rather than default to it would seem to be in their competitive interest.
The question is: Where will the Packers find a new QB3?
The Packers will have 10 picks in the 2021 NFL draft and could feel motivated to spend one of their Day 3 selections on a quarterback prospect if the right one appears at the right time. It may seem pretty unlikely, but so did the Packers trading up to land Love in 2020 with Rodgers under contract for another four years. They do also have additional draft capital after officially receiving three compensatory picks this week.
More likely than another drafted quarterback, though, is a new undrafted rookie who goes unselected later this spring. The Packers have signed a quarterback in each of their last two UDFA class with Manny Wilkins in 2019 and Jalen Morton in 2020. Wilkins actually stuck around for the entire 2019 season on the Packers’ practice squad as an emergency option for their roster if Rodgers or Boyle needed relief. The same could make sense in 2021 for Rodgers and Love.