Packers teammates ‘respect the hell’ out of Jordan Love, who attended voluntary OTAs in midst of contract negotiations

GREEN BAY – To know the difference a year makes for Jordan Love, consider how the uncertainty surrounding him has changed since last offseason.

In the wake of Aaron Rodgers’ departure, every Love throw was tracked and tabulated a year ago. Even when he wasn’t in full pads, facing a pass rush. Nobody knew then what Love could become. There was a prolonged inhale around the Green Bay Packers last spring, a hesitation to exhale until questions about the future of their quarterback position were answered.

Now that Love has put most of those doubts to rest, the primary uncertainty remaining is how much he’ll benefit from ascending to the level of franchise quarterback in his first season as starter. Love is expected to sign an extension near the top of an ever-expanding quarterback market this offseason. With negotiations ongoing, Love participated Tuesday afternoon in the Packers’ first stretch of organized team activities.

“That’s just something that I’ve always done,” Love said. “Try to be here, get the reps in, get the work in with the guys, and just try to build that chemistry and get ready for the season.”

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) is shown during organized team activities Tuesday, May 21, 2024 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) is shown during organized team activities Tuesday, May 21, 2024 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Love declined to discuss the details of his contract negotiations. Asked if he would set Week 1 as a deadline for a deal, the quarterback said: “We’ll see. I don’t know yet. We’ll see.”

It’s unlikely Love is in a rush to reach his new deal. He isn’t the only quarterback in line for a massive extension this offseason. Detroit’s Jared Goff signed a four-year, $212 million extension, an annual $53 million salary that makes him the second-highest-paid quarterback in the league, and shows the sport’s rapidly growing scale. It stands to reason Goff will not be the NFL’s second-highest-paid player for long. Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa also is scheduled for an extension this offseason as he enters the final year of his rookie deal.

Tagovailoa (fifth) and Love (26th) were first-round picks in the same draft. Whoever signs an extension last this offseason likely will be the higher paid. That’s usually how the market works. There is no urgency for negotiations to be completed in May.

It’s likely why Love’s relationship with the team has remained strong. Love was featured on the Packers' schedule release video last week. He took reps in a voluntary on-field workout Tuesday.

“I just think you feel the confidence in him,” coach Matt LaFleur said. “The way he projects himself in front of the team, and that’s what you expect. You expect guys to continue to push and get better and better and better.

“The command that he has of the offense, I know the guys all respect the hell out of him just in terms of who he is as a man and the work that he puts in. He’s so consistent. He shows up every day with a great attitude, and just being one of the guys.”

Here are some other tidbits from the Packers’ first open OTA session Tuesday.

Green Bay Packers running back Josh Jacobs stretches during organized team activities.
Green Bay Packers running back Josh Jacobs stretches during organized team activities.

Packers have exceptional attendance for voluntary OTAs, minus injured Josh Jacobs, Tucker Kraft and Zach Tom

It wasn’t just Love who attended Tuesday’s voluntary session. The Packers had everyone on their 91-man offseason roster accounted for except cornerback Robert Rochell, who was excused for a personal reason.

That doesn’t mean they had a full roster on the field.

Running back Josh Jacobs did not participate in Tuesday’s session because of a lingering hamstring injury. Jacobs rehabbed his hamstring on the sideline during practice, running sprints.

“I know everybody is going to freak out,” LaFleur said, “but he’s on the mend. We expect him back pretty shortly.”

Others will take longer. The Packers hope right tackle Zach Tom returns by training camp in late July from a pectoral injury, but it could be later into August. Tight end Tucker Kraft had his left arm in a sling but is expected to return around the start of camp.

The Packers got good news with defensive end Kingsley Enagbare, LaFleur said. When last season ended, the Packers believed Enagbare had torn his ACL. They determined it wasn’t a torn ligament in his knee early this offseason, and by last month’s draft were hopeful he could avoid surgery. LaFleur said Enagbare indeed will avoid surgery and is “full go” this offseason.

He participated on the field in Tuesday’s session.

“He never had surgery and didn’t tear it,” LaFleur said. “So we dodged a bullet there. I think he’s been doing great out there, and he’s just been working his tail off.”

Packers scheduling more joint practices against preseason opponents in training camp

The Packers will host the Baltimore Ravens for a joint practice before their preseason finale in August. That will follow a joint practice at Denver one week earlier.

Both will have something in common: only one practice.

“We all know how it can go on Day 2,” LaFleur said of having a second joint practice against the same opponent in camp. “Sometimes it becomes a wrestling match out there, or an MMA fight. So we’re trying to avoid that at all cost.”

LaFleur wouldn’t rule out scheduling multiple joint practices against the same opponent in future years, but it was an easy decision in this camp after the Packers’ second joint practice against the New England Patriots last year turned into a fracas. The Packers had a chippy joint practice last year against the Cincinnati Bengals, both teams likely benefiting from not having a second day.

In a limited setting, LaFleur said he believes joint practices provide a lot of advantages for his team.

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“I just love getting exposure to new systems, new challenges,” LaFleur said. “You can look around the league, and there’s similar systems that you may or may not play. So it’s good to get work against that. I think it allows you to play your starters a little bit longer in a little bit more controlled setting where you’re not putting them at risk as much. There’s always an inherent risk when you step out on the grass, but when you’re staying up, you’re not going to the ground, I think you get a lot of great work.

“It’s great going against the other team in terms of their starters to see kind of where you’re at. It gives you a great gauge, and it just, quite honestly, it breaks up the monotony of camp. I mean, camp can get long. So I’ve always embraced those opportunities to go against other teams.”

This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Packers Jordan Love at voluntary OTA in midst of contract negotiations