On Thursday, the Green Bay Packers made the surprising move to trade up in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft and use the No. 26 pick to select Utah State University quarterback Jordan Love. According to Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst, the decision to draft the promising young QB was made without informing the team’s current signal caller — two-time NFL MVP and Super Bowl champion Aaron Rodgers — of their intention to do so.
As reported by the New York Post, Gutekunst told reporters on a conference call after making the pick that he had not been in contact with Rodgers, but maintained that he and the Packers organization had made the best decision they could while weighing the team’s current and future needs.
“I haven’t connected with Aaron yet. I think that when you go through kind of the way things went tonight, you weigh the short-term and the long-term and the way the board went, this was just the best decision for the Packers.”
The decision to trade up and acquire Love — whose draft buzz had been growing in the weeks leading up to the event — is clearly a long-term move. It’s also eerily reminiscent of the circumstances under which Rodgers himself had been drafted back in 2005.
At the time, the Packers were led by QB Brett Favre, who was 35 years old, but still performed at a relatively high level. During the 2004 season, Favre had thrown for over 4,000 yards and 30 TD passes with 17 interceptions. Rodgers would remain on the sidelines for the next three years, but eventually took over for Favre when he was traded to the New York Jets in 2008.
Less than three years later, Rodgers led Green Bay to an NFL championship at Super Bowl XLV.
Nearly a decade has passed since that Super Bowl win and Rodgers is now 36 years old himself. He remains one of the top QBs in the NFL, but is far closer to the end of his career than its beginning. Moreover, he has under-performed in four consecutive NFC Championship Games, logging a passer rating of just 78.0 for those contests and throwing more interceptions than TD passes.
In 2019, Green Bay missed out on a Super Bowl appearance when they were beaten by 17 points in the conference title game by the San Francisco 49ers.
Nevertheless, Rodgers remains one of the league’s premiere players. He had recently indicated that he was interested in playing beyond his current contract with the Packers. Rodgers’ current deal with Green Bay runs through the 2023 NFL season.
If Love is truly Rodgers’ heir apparent, the longtime pro may end up finishing his career somewhere other than Green Bay.