The first year of Jordan Love’s career as a full-time starter for the Green Bay Packers couldn’t have gone much better. Despite shaky stretches and inconsistent play throughout the regular season, Love managed to steer the team to a 9-8 record and into the postseason. The Packers then took down the No. 2 seed Cowboys and were minutes away from eliminating the No. 1 seed 49ers before a missed field goal and an ill-advised throw from Love. Even with that late-game blunder against San Francisco, Love heads into the offseason with significant leverage when it comes to his contract extension.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Love and the Packers want to get a deal done this offseason. The quarterback still has one year left on his current deal, which is worth $22.5 million and expires after the 2024 season. The Packers did this in lieu of the typical fifth-year option. It was a sign of confidence in Love, with good salary escalators if he performed well. According to Schefter, this extension would make Love one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league.
Negotiations like this are always delicate. As a team, you want to know your guy is being supported while also not hampering your ability to put a competent supporting cast around him. The Packers are unlikely to give Love a deal similar to that of Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow or Lamar Jackson but they also have to contend with inflated contracts for Deshaun Watson and Kyler Murray. Jalen Hurts got paid last offseason after leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl. Dak Prescott is looking at a big extension himself after leading the league in touchdown passes. The Giants signed Daniel Jones to a deal that is looking problematic. It’s a fine balance between rewarding the most important position while also not being hamstrung by it.
Luckily, the Packers come into this with two big benefits. The first is that most of the skill position players on offense are on rookie deals. Aaron Jones is on an expiring deal in 2024 and AJ Dillon is unlikely to return. David Bakhtiari’s situation will have to be figured out but he seems like a cap casualty. Green Bay can afford to pay Love now with the rest of the offense still being relatively cost-friendly. There will be some defensive questions, particularly with Jaire Alexander, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary and Kenny Clark.
But Love’s big extension wouldn’t hamper the team to the extent it would others. The second, and perhaps less explicit benefit, is the Packers have been there for Love every step of the way. They handpicked him to follow Aaron Rodgers, possibly even reaching for him in the draft. They gave him an extension instead of the uncertainty of the fifth-year option. And they’ve likely taken franchise tags off the board.
They’re all-in on Love and have been from the beginning. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities the organization can’t get the player to take a slight discount for the benefit of the overall group. In an era where quarterbacks are making north of $50 million per year, even a few million here and there makes a massive difference.
An extension for Love would likely start at that figure of $50 million per year. There’s always the risk of handing any player a big deal right after he has one good season, and even that good season had stretches of maddening performances. There will surely be some team protections, and the guaranteed money will take a hit in the event Love regresses in 2024. However, it is more prudent to do a deal now than wait a year. If Love goes on a deep playoff run next year on an expiring deal, he’s unlikely to be favorable in a negotiation. And he’s unlikely to take anything less than the maximum deal. A five-year extension with an average annual value of $50 million per year is a healthy medium for this offseason, provided there are some protections for the team. An opt out for Green Bay after three years seems good for both sides, but that’s probably the best the team can do.