The Green Bay Packers will have some tough decisions to make next offseason, but given the situation at quarterback, general manager Brian Gutekunst could find the successor to Aaron Rodgers in the 2023 NFL draft.
Rodgers is nearing the end of his NFL career at 39 years old, and with his decline in play in 2022, the Packers could consider finding his long-term replacement if they’re not sold on former first-round pick Jordan Love.
The good news for the Packers is that they’ll have options at quarterback if they decide to move on next offseason, especially if they have a top draft pick. In his latest mock draft, Kent Platte with Pro Football Network shared an option for the Packers by having them take Kentucky quarterback Will Levis with the 12th overall pick.
“Aaron Rodgers has seen his on-field ability nosedive in ways the organization isn’t used to, making quarterback a huge priority for the franchise’s long-term health,” Platte said. “Will Levis won’t be for everyone, but if you’ve got a little time and patience to bring him up to speed, you will have one of the most talented QBs in the class…He’s a bit wild in his decision-making, and his accuracy can waver under pressure. But when he’s on, you’ll have some serious ‘WOW’ moments at QB.”
Could Aaron Rodgers Retire After This Season?
There are a lot of options on the table for Rodgers, but there is a very real chance that the reigning back-to-back MVP decides to hang up his cleats after the 2022 season.
At 39 years old, Rodgers has experienced one of the worst seasons of his career in 2022, throwing for just 2,864 yards, 22 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. That’s the most interceptions he’s thrown since 2010, and his passer rating of 92.4 is the lowest of his career as a full-time starter.
There are multiple reasons for that, including injuries at the wide receiver position and multiple injuries of his own that he’s dealing with. Along with a broken thumb he’s dealt with for most of the season, Rodgers is also dealing with a rib injury he suffered against the Philadelphia Eagles.
All of this has led to the Packers with a 5-8 record and on the outside looking in for the NFC playoff race. That could all lead to Rodgers deciding to retire, but there’s also the chance that the 39-year-old quarterback wants to end his career on a much higher note by trying to run it back in 2023.
If that’s the case, then the Packers could still draft Will Levis to learn behind Rodgers until the future Hall of Famer decides to call it quits.
Will Jordan Love Take Over as Green Bay’s QB1?
As a former first-round pick, Jordan Love is in a tough position waiting behind Rodgers for his chance to start. If the 39-year-old comes back in 2023, it could be too late for Love to secure his spot as the long-term replacement for Rodgers in Green Bay.
Love will be on the fourth year of his rookie deal in 2023, and the Packers will have to determine whether or not to pick up his fifth-year option before the start of the season. However, with the cap constraints the Packers are dealing with and Love’s limited on-field action, it’s unclear if the team would exercise that option to keep him under contract through 2024.
The 24-year-old showed flashes after taking over under center against the Eagles, completing 6 of 9 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. As impressive as his performance was, Love simply hasn’t played enough for the Packers to justify an expensive fifth-year option if Rodgers decides to remain in Green Bay.
Although his days in Green Bay may be numbered, Love’s experience behind Rodgers and flashes of excellence when on the field should help him find a job elsewhere if the Packers don’t bring him back.