The Other Guy Is ‘Absolutely Ready’ in Green Bay

Aaron Rodgers Has 1st
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

The Green Bay Packers have about two weeks to “figure it out” at QB1, with free agency formally beginning the week of March 13th.

And a large domino for Green Bay’s offseason roadmap is the status of incumbent starter Aaron Rodgers whose tenure in Wisconsin has lasted 18 seasons to date. Rodgers has waffled this offseason on his future — just like the last two — trying to decide whether to return for Year 19, retire, or request a trade.

The Other Guy Is ‘Absolutely Ready’ in Green Bay

If Rodgers chooses retirement or the trade avenue, Packers brass feels ultra-confident that QB2 Jordan Love is ready to start.

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Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) shares a laugh with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and quarterback Kurt Benkert (7) during the first day of training camp Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Green Bay. © Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

ESPN’s Rob Demovsky tweeted Tuesday morning, “Gutekunst (the Packers GM) said Jordan Love is ‘absolutely’ ready to be a starter and they’ve been in regular communication with him and his agent about what’s happening.”

“GM Brian Gutekunst in a session with Packers reporters at the combine said he hasn’t spoken much with Aaron Rodgers since their end of season meetings but still hopes for a decision before free agency (March 15),” Demovsky added.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) and quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) participate in training camp on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, at Ray Nitschke Field in Ashwaubenon, Wis.Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

Rodgers’ has been mum on his future since the Packers failed to qualify for the postseason in 2022. He seemed to “soak it all in” during a Week 18 home loss to the Detroit Lions that canceled Green Bay’s playoff aspirations. If a man was going to say farewell to his since-2005 employer, Rodgers’ end-of-game behavior felt like an apropos and sentimental goodbye.

But fast forward to a few weeks later, and Rodgers’ future was very much in the air. A frequent guest of The Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers routinely updates the fans and media, usually just telling the world he hasn’t decided yet.

A week ago, Rodgers concluded a “darkness isolation retreat” to allegedly help clear his head. Before the retreat, he told The Pat McAfee Show about the activity, “I’m still in the art of contemplation about my future. After my isolation retreat, I’ll be ready to make a decision.”

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10), Aaron Rodgers (12), and Danny Etling (19) run to the practice field during training camp on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, at Ray Nitschke Field in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin. Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis.

Time is now of the essence for Rodgers and the Packers because Green Bay must know his status to proceed accordingly. If he’s returning in 2023, the Packers will know their salary cap situation and who they can target in free agency on a slim budget. But if Rodgers wants a trade, well, that’s a whole different ball of wax. Regardless, all of this is counting down to crunchtime, which is NFL free agency in two weeks.

Gutekunst said about Rodgers Tuesday, “He’s a great player, but until we have those conversations, I think all options are on the table. We need to have those conversations. We want what’s best for the Green Bay Packers, what’s best for him so we’ll get to that coming up.”

Love saw action in a Week 12 game against the Philadelphia Eagles and looked fantastic — in garbage time. It’s firmly to be determined how Love will play if granted the undisputed QB1 job.

Too, the Packers must decide this spring whether to exercise Love’s $20.2 million fifth-year rookie contract option for 2024. A Rodgers decision — either way — would make the Love verdict more navigable.

Rodgers is owed about $100 million in guaranteed money for the remainder of his contract, an extension he signed last year.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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