If the Green Bay Packers drafting Utah State quarterback Jordan Love on Thursday night as the potential heir apparent to Aaron Rodgers feels like a familiar scenario, that’s because it is.
When Brett Favre was sixth months shy of his 36th birthday, the Packers used the 24th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft to select Rodgers. Favre started all 48 games over the next three seasons before leaving the franchise, giving way to Rodgers, who has been the full-time starter ever since.
On Thursday, with third-year, first-time general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur at the controls, the Packers took the 30th overall pick and a fourth-round pick, sent them to the Mi ami Dolphins and received the 26th overall pick in return. The Packers then used that 26th overall pick to select Love.
“Jordan’s got a lot to learn, so really, the plan is just going to be for him to come in and learn Matt’s system the best he can,” Gutekunst said on a conference call with reporters late Thursday night. “Obviously, we took him, so we think a lot of him. I think that down the road, he certainly has all the ability to be a difference-maker at the position, but these things take time.”
As late Thursday night gave way to early Friday morning, Love had not yet had a chance to speak with Rodgers.
“I already know I’ll be able to learn a lot from Aaron Rodgers,” Love said. “He’s one of the greats of the game. He knows what he’s doing, knows a lot, has a lot of knowledge and I’ll be able to sit behind him, pick his brain, grow as a player and develop my game.”
Love was the fourth quarterback off the board and is the fifth Aggie ever taken in the first round of the NFL Draft, but the first since 1970. As the No. 26 pick, Love will sign a four-year contract worth a total of $12.38 million, $6.57 million of which will come via signing bonus. Those figures are according to the NFL’s rookie salary sliding scale.
Love going to Green Bay offers big intrigue because, while Favre was no longer at the very top of his game 15 years ago, Rodgers still appears to be.
Rodgers turned 36 during the 2019 season, but went to the Pro Bowl for the eighth time after throwing for 4,002 yards and 26 touchdowns against just four interceptions. The Packers won the NFC North by three games, received a first-round bye and advanced to the NFC championship game where they lost to the San Francisco 49ers.
Rodgers’ play remaining at a high level may make Love’s selection a curious one, but so too does Rodgers’ monster contract.
On Aug. 29, 2018, Rodgers and the Packers agreed to a four-year extension worth $134 million, with over $100 million guaranteed.