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If Packers Are Committed to Rodgers, It’s Time to Trade Love

If Jordan Love is ready to play, as GM Brian Gutekunst stated on Friday, then it’s time to let him play. And if he’s not going to play in Green Bay, then it’s time to let him play elsewhere.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst signaled on Friday that, so long as Aaron Rodgers decides to return for a 19th season, he will be their quarterback for the 2023 NFL season.

“We made a really big commitment to him last offseason, so I think as we did that it wasn’t certainly for just this year,” Gutekunst said on Friday.

If the Packers are committed to Rodgers, then it’s time to commit themselves to trading Jordan Love.

That wouldn’t be in the team’s best interests, obviously. What team wouldn’t want a four-time NFL MVP as the starter and a talented former first-round pick in his fourth season in the league and offensive system as the backup?

“I definitely think he’s ready to play,” Gutekunst said of Love. “I think he feels that way. I think he’s champing at the bit. But, at the same time, we’re going to do what’s best for the Green Bay Packers and what gives us the best chance to win moving forward.”

What’s best for the Packers and what’s best for Love might no longer be in alignment.

If Love is ready to play, then it’s time to let him play. And if he’s not going to play in Green Bay, then it’s time to let him play elsewhere. It’s not fair to restrict Love’s ability to maximize his potential. It’s not fair to restrict Love’s ability to maximize his earnings potential.

I get it, the NFL isn’t about being fair. It’s a business. The Packers are in the business of winning games. Having more than one quality quarterback on the roster is good business. But there’s also a right way of doing business. Putting aside everything that led up to last year’s trade of Davante Adams, the Packers did right by him when they acquiesced to his trade request rather than playing hardball and forcing him back under the franchise tag.

The same should apply to Love.

Love was put in an unenviable position when the Packers drafted him in the first round in 2020. Not only did he join a team with a living-legend quarterback who wasn’t exactly thrilled about his arrival, but – unlike every other first-round pick – there was no obvious path to playing time.

To his credit, Love has done everything correctly. He’s grown exponentially since his arrival in Green Bay. When he had his lone real opportunity this season, in place of an injured Rodgers at Philadelphia, he clearly was prepared and ready. And, not once, has he grumbled publicly about his career being in an indefinite holding pattern.

“We really like the development of where Jordan is,” Gutekunst said. “I think he’s ready to play. I think that’s the next step in his development. But those guys [Rodgers and Love] work well together in the room. I think if anything this year would have happened to Aaron and Jordan would have had to play a significant amount of time, we felt really good about that.

“But it’s like any quarterback in the National Football League when they haven’t done it: You go into that and there’s some unknowns. They’ve got to handle a lot of different things, see a lot of different things before they can get to a point where they can win games in this league.”

At some point, Love needs to experience those things and get the chance to win games. As he enters the final year of his rookie contract, the urgency to experience everything a starting quarterback has to experience – from beating a blitz on third down to leading a do-or-die final drive to all the leadership requirements throughout the week – is heightened.

There’s nothing wrong with a dead-end job – and that’s Love’s reality at the moment – if you’re only about collecting paychecks. That’s not Love, though. He’s a competitor. He’s spent years upon years getting ready to be an NFL starter.

It’s time for Love to get his chance. And if the Packers are going to hitch their wagon to a 39-year-old quarterback coming off the worst season of his career for next season and who knows how many more seasons, then it’s time to do the right thing and trade Love so he can get the opportunity that he’s earned.

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