On Friday, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers spoke with the media for the first time since the Packers stunningly selected quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Love selection was a move that was quite unlikely to please Rodgers, a two-time NFL MVP and the all-time leader in passer rating, who has four years left on his contract with the Packers (with a potential out in 2022).
Well, Rodgers admitted to the media on Friday that he was surprised by the pick, and said, “Not going to say I was thrilled by the pick, necessarily.” However, he did add that he understands and respects the organization thinking about the future.
Aaron Rodgers on the Packers' taking Jordan Love: "The general reaction at first was surprise, like many people. Not going to say I was thrilled by the pick, necessarily. But I understand the organization is not thinking just about the present, but the future and I respect that."
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 15, 2020
And Rodgers said that he “had a good conversation” with Love after the draft, and “is excited to work with” the Utah State product.
Aaron Rodgers on working with Jordan Love: "He didn't get asked to be drafted by the Packers. He's not to blame at all. … Had a good conversation with him the day after the draft. I'm excited to work with him." https://t.co/hdpzB5unj1
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) May 15, 2020
Rodgers was particularly surprised about the pick due to his “strong desire to play into [his] 40s.”
And he admitted that his “sincere desire to start and finish with the same organization, just as it has with many other players over the years, may not be a reality at this point.”
Most honest Aaron Rodgers answer just now, in response to being asked why he wasn't thrilled with the Love pick.
"My sincere desire to start and finish with the same organization, just as it has with many other players over the years, may not be a reality at this point."
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) May 15, 2020
“It was more the surprise of the pick based on my own feelings of wanting to play into my 40s, and then really the realization that it does change the controllables a little bit… because as much as I feel confident in my abilities and what I can accomplish, and what we can accomplish, there are some new factors that are out of my control. And so my sincere desire to start and finish with the same organization, just as it has with many other players over the years, may not be a reality at this point. And as much as I understand the organization’s future outlook to make sure they’re thinking about the team now and down the line… and I respect that… at the same time, I still believe in myself and I have a strong desire to play into my 40s. I’m just not sure how that all works together at this point.”
So, Rodgers is already suggesting that he may not finish his career in Green Bay, and especially if he indeed intends to play into his 40s.
While the Packers could always trade Love if they want to keep rolling with Rodgers a few years down the road, you don’t draft a player in the first round with the intention of them being a backup plan for their entire rookie contract. The Packers’ likely thinking with the Love selection was 2-3 more seasons of Rodgers, and then Love takes over.
Additionally, even if the Packers decide they still want Rodgers to be their quarterback longer than that, there’s a good chance he wants to go somewhere else anyway. We’re to assume that the Packers were aware of Rodgers’ “strong desire” to play into his 40s, and they went ahead and drafted a quarterback in the first round while Rodgers is 36. He’s already saying that he wasn’t exactly thrilled with the pick, and that’s likely being kind (as most of his comments were on the topic).
But in the Packers’ position, Rodgers wanting to play into his 40s is great news, even if they intend to turn to Love before that. Unless his performance drops significantly, Rodgers should maintain high trade value in a QB league.