Quarterbacks make the NFL world go round. Playing the most important position in the sport, they are at the heart of every franchise’s successes and failures and carry the weight of the spotlight 365 days a year. They are, in large part, why we tune in on Sundays and are also why fans are expecting this offseason to be one of the most dramatic in quite some time. For much of the past seven months, anticipation has been quietly building in the world of football, beneath the surface of the daily news, about the unknown of what the next few weeks will present. At the top of the looming news, for a straight year, is Aaron Rodgers’ future with the Green Bay Packers. He is the first domino in what will be a turbulent spring for the franchise, regardless of whether he decides to return for another season or retire. Much speculation has swirled about the impact his decision will have on replacement Jordan Love and what the young caller would even command in the trade market, should the Packers decide to leave him. Today we are looking at the price of Jordan Love.
The league seemed relatively stable at quarterback not too long ago. A select group of young superstars, led by Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, led the future of the position while a few crafty veterans in the twilight of their careers went on to prove they were still the standard. Outside of the top flight, many high draft picks from recent years — though still question marks — rounded out the rest of what was considered average to below average. But even with some talent yet to secure their place at the table, the NFL has remained stable in its money-making position.
Then came July 2021.
After considering his future with the Packers, Rodgers returned for what was thought to be a ‘last dance’ run at a Super Bowl before he and the other main Green Bay players left for new teams or retire in the 2022 offseason.
In Seattle, reported tension between Russell Wilson and the front office boiled over to the point that the franchise quarterback was going to demand a trade. These rumors died down once the season started, but picked up again since the start of the offseason.
Recently, seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady somewhat surprisingly announced that he was stepping away from the game after the Buccaneers exited in the divisional round of the playoffs. His return is possible but an official retirement seems imminent, leaving the Bucs without a quarterback.
More anticipated is the infallible first-round Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger, who has confirmed his retirement from an 18-year career after the Steelers were fired on the wild card weekend.
Then there are several teams, including the Saints, Colts, Broncos, Commanders and Panthers, that are expected to be in the quarterback market this spring. Let’s not forget the teams with – now bigger – question marks at the post, like the Browns, the Vikings or the Texans.
What seemed like a relatively stable position just a year ago has turned into a potential changing of the guard for most franchises as teams prepare for what many believe will be a quarterback draft class. – disappointing rear.
In the midst of this chaos is Love, whose name has gained more attention over the past two weeks as Rodgers’ decision looms.
The 23-year-old has worked his way up the depth chart, going from an inactive third-string quarterback on game days as a rookie to a bona fide backup for Rodgers in 2021. Whether the Packers will felt compelled to promote the 26and The overall pick in 2020 due to the public scrutiny they faced after drafting it is anyone’s guess.
But in limited preseason action and his only regular season start against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9, it was easy to tell he wasn’t ready to be an NFL starting quarterback.
Now, with the possibility of him being forced to be a substitute again, are the Packers keeping a first-round pick on the bench or selling him?
If Rodgers returns, the biggest issue the team will likely face is Love’s league-wide value.
This was debated tirelessly on Twitter with no conclusions drawn.
Work for packers
Working for the Packers is about three things: the league-wide need, the weak quarterback class and his experience.
Let’s start with the need.
By my count, there are three quarterback desperate teams (Panthers, Commanders, Broncos). Then there are three other teams that probably should be, or would already be in the market (Colts, Vikings, Saints). Then there are the teams that wouldn’t be surprised if they were open to a deal (Dolphins, Browns, Raiders, Eagles, Seahawks).
Even excluding the Vikings, who the Packers wouldn’t give a quarterback to under any circumstances, that’s still a third of the league potentially open to a new face under center.
Now the draft says “weak”.
This could be the biggest determinant of Love’s worth and the question comes down to this: where does Jordan Love, entering his third year in the NFL, rank among these prospects?
If the answer is up high, the Packers’ phone could ring with a first-round pick on the table. But there’s also the possibility that he’s ranked low among those rookies, in which case he might only be worth a mid-term pick.
How about his experience.
This is what, in my opinion, separates Love from future recruits and what reinforces his value. Although he saw limited action and didn’t look great in these snaps, Love still endured two seasons in the NFL. He still has two more years of practice under his belt with real gameday snaps to his name.
He learned under Matt LaFleur, Nathanial Hackett and Luke Getsy, and had arguably the most talented quarterback of all time as a mentor.
None of the prospects have this and it makes Love’s evaluation process slightly easier.
Working against the Packers
Working against the Packers is good, Packers.
It’s no secret that it’s hard to go from a franchise quarterback, especially when that quarterback is Aaron Rodgers, who, by the way, just won his second consecutive award and fourth MVP overall.
But, it’s also easy to assume that if Love showed the same promise that someone like Mahomes showed in limited action during his redshirt rookie season, the Packers would be content to move forward with Love, especially after another disappointing playoff outing led by Rodgers.
The Packers threw any possible leverage they had out the window at the end of the season when they said they were adamant about Rodgers returning in 2022. They showed their cards, hoping it wouldn’t. It wouldn’t matter because Rodgers would return, but it could wind up costing them significant value on love.
If Rodgers retires, Love is almost certainly off the table. LaFleur, Tom Clements and Co. will work with the Utah product to maximize his potential as the future of the Packers.
If Rodgers returns, Love will be in the market. But his value is surely tarnished by the team’s public desire for the 38-year-old.
What is the price of Loves? I believe a team would give up a second-round pick for him. If the Packers are determined to maximize their return on this pick, I say take it and run.
What do I think will happen? I think Love is staying at least another year even though Rodgers is on the team.
Rodgers can be a year-to-year player at this point. Even though Love has yet to prove he’s the heir apparent, that doesn’t mean he won’t.
Stick with your pick and keep developing a first-round quarterback. Last time you did this it worked pretty well.
Joshua Frey-Sam is a journalism student and aspiring sportscaster from Winnipeg, Canada. A Packers fan since 2005, Josh has struggled to master the financial and scouting side of the NFL over the past few years. Josh remains convinced that Dez did not, in fact, catch the ball. You can follow him on Twitter at @jfreysam.