Aaron Rodgers may still be in a state of confusion.
Packers’ QB-in-waiting Jordan Love continues to perplex onlookers at training camp, who aren’t seeing the must-have talent that inspired general manager Brian Gutekunst on that pivotal draft day decision in April.
“He hasn’t fallen down the quarterback depth chart – he was already at the bottom of it,” Packers beat writer Matt Schneidman wrote on Thursday, “but Love has yet to even provide a glimpse at why the Packers traded up to draft him in the first round.”
The team moved up four spots to select Love 26th overall, a decision that was met with scrutiny at the time. For one, the transaction cost them a fourth-round pick, as well as the upside of drafting a weapon for Rodgers from a talented receiving class. Second, the Utah State product is a polarizing raw talent, whom many felt should have waited a year to declare for the draft and transfer to a Power 5 program.
“Nobody expected him to take the world by storm in his first nine practices,” Schneidman said of Love, who threw 17 interceptions last season. “But every throw he makes seems like a touch pass and he’s had some accuracy issues early on.”
Love, 21, initially caught the attention of NFL scouts in his sophomore season with the Aggies when he completed 64 percent of his passes for 3,567 yards, 32 touchdowns and six interceptions, but failed to replicate that success in the following year. Based on head coach Matt LaFleur’s remarks, it appears the gunslinger may be overcorrecting at this point.
“I just told him, ‘Hey, you can’t play hesitant, you can’t play tentative,’” LaFleur said, via Schneidman. “We tell the quarterbacks, ‘Indecisive equals ineffective.’ Sometimes, I know a lot is going through his mind right now, but sometimes you’ve just got to shut it off and let your instincts take over and really go out and rip the ball.
“That’s kind of the challenge to him right now.”
Rodgers, 36, is under contract until 2023 and carries a $21.6 million cap hit in 2020 ($51.1 million dead cap) and a $36.4 million cap hit in 2021 ($31.6 million dead cap). His dead cap liability drops to $17.2 million in 2022, which it would seem is the earliest point at which the team could financially move on from their aging signal-caller.
The Packers’ hope is that Rodgers will groom Love into a franchise quarterback during those two years, an exercise that ended acrimoniously when Rodgers was the up-and-coming star behind Brett Favre in Green Bay.