Playing Waiting Game on Love Will Cost Packers Dearly

Seemingly with each passing day, the contract extension awaiting Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love will get more expensive. In retrospect, it could have been avoided.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) is shown during the team’s minicamp Tuesday, June 11, 2024 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) is shown during the team’s minicamp Tuesday, June 11, 2024 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. / Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – How much money will Jordan Love receive in his contract extension with the Green Bay Packers?

Maybe a more interesting question is how much money would the Packers have saved had they given Love his contract extension 13 months earlier?

In an interview with Rich Eisen, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio thought Love could become the first player worth $60 million per season.





It’s dumbfounding money considering Love’s limited accomplishments, but that’s business in the NFL.

In May 2023, the Packers and Love agreed to a compromise one-year contract extension that contained more money in 2023 ($14.5 million vs. $2.29 million) and more total money ($22.5 million) but less guaranteed money than the fifth-year option ($20.272 million).

In trading Aaron Rodgers and moving forward with Love, general manager Brian Gutekunst showed his belief in the quarterback he traded up to select in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

He just wasn’t all-in on that belief.

And now the Packers will pay for not being fully committed.

To be clear, this isn’t second-guessing or criticism.

With the positive part of Love’s resume consisting of growth on the practice field and one quarter of action in relief of Rodgers at Philadelphia in 2022, there’s no way Gutekunst could have given Love a real contract extension last offseason. And, really, there probably was no reason for Love and his agents to want to sign a long-term contract at the time, either, for fear of winding up grossly underpaid – which, as it turns out, would have been the case.

The compromise extension was a necessity for the Packers (to avoid the fifth-year option if Love was a bust) and important for Love (to at least get a reasonable salary as a starting quarterback).

The trade-off, however, came with huge financial ramifications. In 2008, when Rodgers was a first-year starter, the Packers gave him a five-year contract extension at midseason. That wasn’t an option with Love because NFL rules prohibit two extensions within 12 months. Surely, extending him in November would have been tens of millions of dollars less expensive than it will be now.

Rewinding back to May 2023, Love’s contract situation probably was unprecedented in NFL history. So, let’s use Giants quarterback Daniel Jones as an admittedly flawed example.

After the 2022 NFL Draft, the Giants declined the fifth-year option on Jones (which the Packers could have done with Love). Facing a make-or-break season, Jones in 2022 completed 67.2 percent of his passes with 22 total touchdowns (15 passing, seven rushing) and five interceptions. That earned him a four-year, $160 million contract before the start of free agency.

Given Love’s much slimmer resume – he lost his only career start in 2021 and was 14-of-21 passing in 2022 – Gutekunst could not have justified that sort of commitment.

Had he had the onions to fully hitch the franchise wagon to Love at the time, though, he would have saved tens of millions of real dollars and made Russ Ball’s salary-cap management much easier.

Let’s say Florio is correct that Love might become the NFL’s first $60 million man. Over four years, that’s $240 million – or $80 million more than the Giants gave Jones.

Even if Love doesn’t get to $60 million per season, it stands to reason that Love should get at least a dollar more than the $275 million over five years the Jacksonville Jaguars just handed Trevor Lawrence. After a breakout 2022 of 25 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 95.2 passer rating during the regular season and one playoff win, Lawrence went backward with 21 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and an 88.5 passer rating in 2023, when the Jaguars went 9-8 and missed the playoffs.

Still, Lawrence tied the Bengals’ Joe Burrow for No. 1 in the league (and No. 1 all-time) with $55 million per season. He received a staggering $142 million signing bonus.

Importantly when keeping in mind what’s ahead for the Packers, the Jaguars will have no problem building around Lawrence. Indeed, with the insertion of a couple void years, Lawrence’s cap numbers are easily manageable. According to, his cap charges are $15.0 million in 2024, $17 million in 2025, $24 million in 2026, $35 million in 2027 and $47 million in 2028 before soaring past $70 million in 2029 and 2030. Those higher cap numbers can be handled through contract manipulation and a rising salary cap.

Earlier in the offseason, the Detroit Lions gave Jared Goff a four-year extension worth $212 million – or $53 million per season. His cap numbers, helped by one void year, start at $27.2 million in 2024 and $32.6 million in 2025 before exploding to $69.6 million in 2026, $54.6 million in 2027 and $61.6 million in 2028.

Six quarterbacks are making more than $50 million per season. Love and the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott – who Love crushed in their playoff matchup – surely will bring that total to eight.

What will that final number be for Love? Who knows, but what has been made abundantly clear is it’s not going to get any cheaper by waiting.

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Bill Huber


Bill Huber, who has covered the Green Bay Packers since 2008, is the publisher of Packer Central, a Sports Illustrated channel. E-mail: History: Huber took over Packer Central in August 2019. Twitter: Background: Huber graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he played on the football team, in 1995. He worked in newspapers in Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells and Shawano before working at The Green Bay News-Chronicle and Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1998 through 2008. With The News-Chronicle, he won several awards for his commentaries and page design. In 2008, he took over as editor of Packer Report Magazine, which was founded by Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke, and In 2019, he took over the new Sports Illustrated site Packer Central, which he has grown into one of the largest sites in the Sports Illustrated Media Group.