The Green Bay Packers have hitched their wagon to quarterback Jordan Love for the 2023 season, and now they're thinking slightly beyond that. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported on Tuesday that Love and the Packers have agreed to a one-year, $22.5 million contract extension that will keep the QB in Green Bay through 2024.
Packers and Jordan Love have agreed on a one-year contract extension worth up to $22.5 million, including $13.5 million fully guaranteed, per source. pic.twitter.com/OfW45KOu9m
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 2, 2023
The extension was in lieu of picking up Love's fifth-year option, which the Packers declined to do. The deadline to pick up the fifth-year option on 2020 rookie contracts is Tuesday.
The Packers drafted Love with the 26th overall pick in 2020, a move that rankled Green Bay's former longtime QB Aaron Rodgers (and was the impetus for his eventual trade to the New York Jets). The Packers insisted that Love was there to learn from Rodgers, not usurp him, which is what Love did for the next three seasons. He didn't play in 2020, and didn't appear in his first NFL game until Week 1 of the 2021 season, when he came in to relieve Rodgers at the tail end of a 38-3 stomping by the New Orleans Saints.
What's the deal with Love's unique extension?
The Packers have essentially painted themselves into a corner. They drafted Love to be Rodgers' eventual replacement, but since Rodgers was still in top form, he almost never let go of the ball. Now that Rodgers is finally gone, Love can ascend to QB1, but he's barely played. Since he was drafted in 2020, he's appeared in 10 total games, starting just one. In 2022 he appeared in four games and didn't start at all.
Love's fifth-year option was for $20.272 fully guaranteed, an amount general manager Brian Gutekunst wasn't entirely comfortable giving a quarterback who has started one total game in his professional career.
“It’s a lot of money for a guy who hasn’t played," Gutekunst said recently. "But at the same time, obviously, we’re moving forward with him. So, we’ll figure that out by Tuesday.”
What Gutekunst and his staff came up with was the $22.5 million extension — worth more in total than Love's fifth-year option — but with just $13.5 million guaranteed. As ESPN's Field Yates pointed out, it gives Love a chance to earn a bit more while also protecting the team.
It also gives the team time to see how Love does over the next two seasons. Right now he's a giant question mark in human form. The Packers need to see him in actual game action before deciding whether to make an even longer (and more expensive) commitment to him.