The Green Bay Packers sent the NFL into a tizzy back at the 2020 NFL Draft when they selected Jordan Love in the first round. Not only did the franchise choose a long-term successor for their current starter, Aaron Rodgers — they traded up in the event to do so. That move signaled that Rodgers’ time with the Packers would end sooner than later.
From Brett Favre To Aaron Rodgers To Jordan Love
As fate would have it, Rodgers went on to win back-to-back “COVID” MVPs — as he would call them. In 2020 and 2021, the future Hall of Fame signal-caller turned back the clock and put the front office in a bind. It doesn’t help that Rodgers toyed around with the idea of retirement multiple times, either. The longer this saga went on, the more it resembled the Brett Favre fiasco from a decade-and-a-half ago.
Thanks to his stellar, league-leading performance and a ticking clock on Love’s rookie deal, Rodgers entered the 2022 season with many assuming it’d be his final one in Green Bay. Those rumors proved correct, as the Packers would trade the nearly 40-year-old quarterback to the New York Jets shortly before the 2023 NFL Draft began.
Now, with the QB1 mantle wide open, it was time for Jordan Love to step in and make general manager Brian Gutekunst look like a genius. Unfortunately, the seamless transition that all parties envisioned has been anything but that. Love, in his first year as a full-time starter, looks a lot like the raw prospect that came out of Utah State years ago.
Packers Haven’t Received A Worthwhile Return On Investment In 2023
In theory, Love’s struggles make sense. It is difficult to replicate NFL game speed in practice. The hope of the younger signal-caller learning behind Rodgers made sense on paper. But, without any actual development for Love since arriving in the league, questions have begun swirling. Do the Packers have the answer behind center? Was the lofty investment in 2020 all for naught?
Love has completed only 59.6 percent of passes in 2023. For a player with accuracy issues coming out of college, the same bad habits have followed him to the NFL. His eight interceptions highlight another red flag from his draft profile, as the gunslinging mentality often leads to turnover-worthy plays on tape.
Love can get caught holding the ball for too long, putting unneeded pressure on the already banged-up offensive line. He has taken 17 sacks and does very little to mitigate pressure when defenders make it through the leaky front line.
Speaking of health, in the spirit of being fair, Love has dealt with constant headaches. His pass catchers are seemingly never at 100 percent, including the likes of Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. Going further, veteran bell-cow Aaron Jones hasn’t been himself for much of the campaign, with nagging injuries knocking the wind out of his sails.
Perhaps the most concerning part of the entire Packers roster — including Jordan Love and his struggles — is the offensive line. Again, on paper, the Packers built this roster the correct way. The offensive line should be the focal point of the offense and serve as one of the best bunches in the entire league. However, one thing that often isn’t taken into account when talking about talent is the availability of that talent.
Green Bay Should Build The Roster Around Jordan Love For One More Offseason
It would be difficult for any quarterback to succeed in this situation. So, would it make sense to give up on the Jordan Love experiment and thrust a rookie signal-caller into the top spot of the depth chart? While I understand the pull toward this, I think Green Bay would be wise to pump the brakes.
Sure, Love may not be the long-term answer at quarterback. And if the Packers somehow find themselves in range for Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, this all goes out the window. Gutekunst wouldn’t be able to turn in a Williams or Maye card fast enough. But that is not likely at this point, so sticking with Love, who is under a cheap contract in 2024, could instead serve as the bridge while the rest of the holes on the roster are filled.
The Packers are not devoid of talent. Getting everyone healthy and adding another youthful draft class could be exactly what the doctor ordered. Maybe Jordan Love will have a better chance at success with a more reliable offensive line? What will happen if he gets a full season with a healthy Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Aaron Jones, and Luke Musgrave?
The allure of the 2024 NFL Draft and its stockpile of quarterbacks might be enough for Green Bay to abandon its near-half-decade-long plan around Love. But, for my money, I expect the Packers to give him another shot next season. He either proves he was worth betting on, or his contract expires, and the franchise is free to start over fresh.