Skip to main content

Jordan Love Reason Why Xavier McKinney, Josh Jacobs Signed with Packers

With the Green Bay Packers, safety Xavier McKinney and running back Josh Jacobs see a team capable of winning big, they said on Friday.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Money talks. By making safety Xavier McKinney and running back Josh Jacobs among the four highest-paid players at their positions, the Green Bay Packers spoke loud and clear during Day 1 of NFL free agency.

It’s not just the money that persuaded McKinney and Jacobs to sign with the Packers. Certainly, McKinney, who was the clear No. 1 safety available, and Jacobs, the 2022 NFL rushing champion, had other options; Jacobs said he had 10 or 12 teams vying for his services.

Rather, during their introductory news conferences from the Lambeau Field locker room on Friday, they said it was a chance to win after playing mostly for losing teams to start their careers.

In Jacobs’ five years with the Las Vegas Raiders and McKinney’s four years with the New York Giants, both players reached the playoffs only once. Jacobs’ Raiders were one-and-done under interim coach Rich Bisaccia in 2021. McKinney’s Giants upset the Vikings in the 2022 wild-card round before getting destroyed by the Eagles the following week.

“Ultimately, it came down to what I seen and what I believed in with this team, the history of this organization, and feeling like I’m wanted by an organization,” said Jacobs, who signed a four-year, $48 million contract to replace Aaron Jones as the No. 1 back.

What did he see with the Packers?

A chance to play for a Super Bowl contender and a chance to re-establish himself as an elite back after leading the NFL with 1,653 rushing yards in 2022 but barely hitting 800 yards in 2023.

“Obviously, young quarterback, young skill guys, good offensive line,” he said. “So, for a running back, can’t load the box and, when you do, you still got guys that can move people around. I think that’s the thing that kind of excited me the most.”

The young quarterback, of course, is Jordan Love. In Year 1 as the full-time replacement for four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers, Love during the second half of the season established himself as one of the top young passers in the NFL. He finished the season with 4,100 passing yards and a second-ranked 32 touchdown passes, then destroyed the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round.

Really, the only game in which he stumbled down the stretch was a primetime loss to McKinney’s Giants, a game in which Love threw one interception and lost a fumble that McKinney recovered.

Still, the overall body of work was impossible to ignore. In getting ready for that game, McKinney no doubt watched Love run off a three-game winning streak against the Chargers, Lions and Chiefs.

“Obviously, it’s a competitive league and you need an elite quarterback to be able to even have a chance,” said McKinney, who inked a four-year, $67 million contract. “I believe that he is an elite quarterback. Obviously, I played against him and I watched him play, and I think he’s really good and the sky’s the limit for him.

“I know he’s a great leader – I’ve heard great things about him – so it’s going to be real fun being a part of this team and being able to go to work with these guys every day. It’s going to be a hungry group. We’ve got a lot of young talent.”

Love’s worst game of the season was Green Bay’s loss to Jacobs and the Raiders in Week 5. That was long before Love and the offense had found its groove. Even then, Jacobs saw things to like from Love.

“I was telling people when we were scouting, I seen him make some throws a lot of people can’t do,” Jacobs said. “Running backwards on one foot and slinging it on a dime. That kind of got me excited when I just started thinking about, watching film on him, and just to see the way he throws the ball effortlessly and the grit he plays with. I’m very excited to play with him.”

Last season, the Raiders finished 8-9 and fired coach Josh McDaniels at midseason. The Giants went only 6-11 and fired defensive coordinator Wink Martindale after the season.

In Green Bay, they’ll be cornerstones for a franchise that has done a lot of winning but hasn’t won the Super Bowl since 2010, just like they were part of Alabama teams that won the FBS championship game in 2017 and got back to the title game in 2018.

“Obviously, great organization, great franchise,” McKinney said. “A lot of history here, a lot of winning. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, something that I’ve done a lot of the time that I’ve been playing football.”