A Theoretical Look at the Future of the Quarterback Position for the Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers haven’t needed to worry about the quarterback position for nearly 30 years thanks to the Hall of Fame level of quarterback play by Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. After drafting Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 draft, the Packers looked like they would move on from Rodgers, but back-to-back MVP awards and a slew of offseason drama later and the Packers signed Rodgers to a three-year, $150,815,000 extension.

The Packers were allegedly still planning to stick with Love once Rodgers leaves the Packers, whether that be due to retirement, trade, or release, but recent rumors have emerged that Jordan Love would seek a trade if he has to remain a backup to Aaron Rodgers for another year. With Rodgers scheduled to make over $59,000,000 next season whether he plays or not, the Packers will have a decision to make: waste a large sum of money and cap space on a QB you’re not starting, or trade away your QB of the future and prove that drafting him was a waste of a pick.

With these questions being raised, let’s look at the future of the quarterback position for the Green Bay Packers, and try to predict what will happen.

Currently Rostered QBs
Aaron Rodgers is currently under contract through the 2024 NFL season and will become a free agent in 2025 assuming the Packers don’t re-sign him once more. There is a potential out in his contract, which will allow the Packers to move on from him before the start of the 2024 season if they elect to do so. Below is a breakdown of Rodgers’ contract, which details his base salary, cap hit, and dead cap (amount of money the team must allocate to his salary if they cut him).

One thing we can see from this chart is how much the Packers will have to pay Rodgers in 2023. Every penny of what the Packers owe Rodgers next year is guaranteed. Releasing Rodgers after this year would mean the Packers would still be forced to allocate over $99 million of their projected $220 million, a little over 45% of their cap space next year. Releasing Rodgers is not a viable option for the Packers, and it is highly unlikely they would regardless. If the Packers wanted to move Rodgers after this year, it would have to come in the form of a trade after June 1st. There are few, if any, teams that would want to trade for an aging QB coming off of one of the worst years of his career. If the Packers are able to find a team to trade for Rodgers at a value they deem acceptable, they would save $15,790,000 in cap space. The likelihood of the Packers trading Rodgers next year are slim, and since they owe Rodgers a large sum of money regardless of what happens next year, it is likely they will keep him around, and if he’s on the roster, it wouldn’t make sense to pay him all that money and not start him.

So if Rodgers does stick around for the foreseeable future, what happens to Jordan Love? The Packers could pick up the fifth-year option in Jordan Love’s rookie contract; however, rumors have begun to surface about Love seeking a trade should Rodgers return to start another year. The Packers will likely do one of two things. They will either find a way to talk him into staying another year and pick up his fifth year option so he remains on the team through 2024, or if no agreement can be made, they will oblige his trade request and flip him to a suitable team for picks. Jordan Love has looked solid in the little time he’s seen on the field and there are plenty of teams out there who would look to take a shot at winning with a young, high-ceiling QB. If Jordan Love can’t be talked into staying for another year, trading him may be the best outcome for the Packers.

There is a potential out for the Packers within the terms of Rodgers’ contract. After the 2023 season, the Packers are able to void the remainder of Rodgers contract, relieving themselves of Rodgers’s ever-increasing cap hit while only taking on $24,480,000 in dead cap for the 2024 season. If the Packers are able to convince Jordan Love to stay with the team up until the 2024 season, the Packers could release Rodgers and start Love with a net gain to the cap space. The question is: will Jordan Love want to spend yet another year behind Aaron Rodgers and waste even more of his career?

Other Quarterback Options
So let us imagine it’s 2024, the Packers have already traded Jordan Love for draft picks in the 2024 draft, and Rodgers is starting one more year for the Packers but has made it clear that he will retire at the end of the 2024 season. Now out of a quarterback for the 2025 season, what are the Packers options? The Packers could either look to add a QB in the 2024 draft or one in free agency to give them a fighting chance as they explore other QB options in the 2025 draft or 2026 draft.

NFL Draft
Below is a list of the top five quarterbacks who will be draft eligible in the next three draft classes. For the 2026 draft, I looked at the top five QB prospects going into their first year of college football and who will be draft eligible in 2026.

Heisman winner Caleb Williams tops the list of prospects for the 2024 draft class; however unless the Packers fully tank for a top five pick, something they’re unlikely to do with Rodgers at the helm, he is likely out of their reach. They will likely have to settle for QBs that slip to later in the first round or QBs outside of the first round.

If the Packers are without a solid QB to win them games for the 2024 or 2025 season, whether their drafted QB is a bust or the QB they signed in free agency doesn’t pan out, they could have a shot at a top 15 pick in either the 2025 or 2026 draft. In which case, the Packers will have a shot at one of the top prospects in the draft. One prospect in question is Arch Manning. The son of Cooper Manning and the nephew of Eli and Peyton Manning, Arch Manning is an early Heisman Trophy candidate in his first year with the Texas Longhorns and could be a generational talent. If he even touches the expectations set for him and reaches his potential, which he is likely to do, he could be another great QB for the Packers.

Free Agency
Below is a list of the top available free agent QBs for the next three years. This list only includes QBs who are unlikely to be re-signed by the current teams as of the publishing of this article.

The 2024 QB free agency class is nothing to write home about. The Packers are likely to have Rodgers on their roster for this year if they don’t trade Love anyway so this year may not be a year they look to add to the QB position with a veteran.

The 2025 QB free agency class is much more promising. If Dak Prescott continues to have limited playoff success with the Cowboys it is likely they won’t re-sign him. In Jared Goff’s situation, despite having success with the Lions, he is likely a bridge player as they look to draft other talent with their first round picks given to them by the Rams in the trade that sent Goff to them in exchange for Matthew Stafford. Goff could be a solid bridge player for the Packers as well.

The QBs available in the 2026 free agency class won’t clearly be known for a couple years until the younger QBs develop, hence why Trey Lance and Brock Purdy are grouped together and why the class includes a lot of rookies and second year players. Both Lance and Purdy have looked great as QBs for the San Francisco 49ers, and whichever QB they choose to not re-sign could potentially be a great option for the Packers.

This prediction is gonna be a little bit different than normal. I am going to give two predictions: one that is more realistic and more likely to happen, and one that I would like to see happen and, despite being a long shot, would really shake things up for the Packers.

My first prediction, and the most boring one, is Rodgers starts for the Packers in 2023. Jordan Love is talked into staying with the Packers and they pick up his fifth-year option. In 2024, Rodgers retires, the remainder of his contract is voided so as to not impact the Packers’ cap space much, Jordan Love starts for Green Bay, and the future of the team rides on his shoulders.

My second prediction, and one that I would like to see happen, is Rodgers continues to play for Green Bay through the 2024 season. Jordan Love is traded for a haul of draft picks for the 2023 and/or 2024 draft. For the 2025 season, the Packers sign a temporary bridge QB/mentor in Jared Goff, and during the 2025 season, the Packers tank to select Texas QB Arch Manning.

In the end these are just predictions, the second one especially is unlikely to happen. It is very difficult to make an accurate guess on what will happen so far into the future, but it’s always fun to speculate.
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