Former 1st-Round Pick Urged to Demand Trade From Packers

Matt LaFleur, Packers

Getty Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers.

The Green Bay Packers finished an unfamiliar sort of season Sunday, but by Monday the franchise found itself in a place it has been all too often over the last few years.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers took to the podium and spoke openly about the possibility of retirement following the team’s loss to the Detroit Lions, which eliminated the Packers from playoff contention. He also wondered aloud if, perhaps, it is time to pass the torch in Green Bay.

“Is time to step away?” Rodgers asked rhetorically. “Is it time for another voice to be leading this team?”

Should he decide it isn’t, the organization may face a difficult road ahead with backup quarterback Jordan Love. Entering his fourth season in 2023, Love has never really gotten a shot under center in Green Bay.

ESPN’s Matt Miller believes that Love should demand a trade if Rodgers decides to return next year.

“If Aaron Rodgers returns for 2023, Jordan Love should ask for a trade,” Miller tweeted Monday. “The key is, Rodgers has to make that decision quickly. I do think Love would have a decent market given how he looked this year, his age, and his pre-draft scouting report.”

For his career, Love is 0-1 as a starter. He has completed 60.2% of his passes (50-of-83) for 606 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. Love has also rushed the ball 13 times for 26 yards.

Love played in four games in 2022, though three of them were merely garbage time at the ends of contests that were already decided. His one real shot came during the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 27, after Rodgers left the game with a rib injury. Love completed 6-of-9 passes for 113 yards and one touchdown, compiling a QB rating of 146.8, per Pro Football Reference.

Love Talked Trade Out of Green Bay Earlier This Season

Jordan Love, Packers

GettyQuarterback Jordan Love of the Green Bay Packers warms up prior to a game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

After an interview with Love in early December, Jason Wilde of The Athletic said he suspects Love will ask out of Green Bay in the coming months.

“I had a really great conversation with Jordan [Love] on Friday afternoon,” Wilde said, per Peter Bukowski. “I think he very clearly, even though he wouldn’t flat-out say it, he does not want to sit for another year. So, if we get to year four and Rodgers does come back, I am fairly confident that he will seek a trade.”

Love spoke to his situation with ESPN’s Rob Demovsky in November, when he was asked outright if he would demand a trade this offseason should Rodgers return.

“We’ll see. I would obviously be in the fourth year of my contract, and it would be the team’s possibility of picking up my fifth year,” Love said. “It’s really on them to see what kind of moves they want to make, what they want to do with the future.”

The Packers must make a call on Love’s fifth-year option by May. The move would lock the quarterback into his contract with Green Bay through 2024.

Trading Rodgers Makes More Sense For Packers Than Trading Love

Aaron Rodgers, Packers

GettyQuarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers reacts after throwing a touchdown pass during a game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Love has started just one game in his career, while Rodgers has won four MVP Awards and a Super Bowl ring. Even still, it’s hard to argue that trading Love makes more sense than dealing Rodgers at this point.

The 24-year-old Love will earn just shy of $3 million next year, and probably around $20 million two seasons from now based on NFL pay scales for former first-round picks that teams pick up for a fifth year. Rodgers, now 39 years old, is scheduled to earn north of $59 million in 2023 and more than $49 million the following year.

Rodgers had a down season by his standards in 2022, throwing for just shy of 3,700 yards, 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, and posting a career-low QBR of 39.4 since taking over as the Packers starter in 2008.

Despite that, he’s likely to carry more trade value than Love considering his bonafides. Teams such as the Las Vegas Raiders and San Francisco 49ers have been mentioned frequently as potential trade destinations. However, Rodgers’ onerous financial situation will make moving him a difficult task, and Green Bay will likely have to foot a big chunk of his 2023 compensation to get a deal done.

The team can’t cut Rodgers, as his dead cap number is more than $99 million next season, though there is always the chance he might retire. Rodgers spoke directly to that on Sunday following the end of the Packers’ season.

“I have a lot of pride in what I’ve accomplished in this league, but I’m also a realist, and I understand where we’re at as a team,” Rodgers said. “We’re a young team. There could be some changes with some of the older guys, and it could be time to step away.”

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