Packers, Love Reach Compromise

Only hours before a decision needed to be made on Jordan Love’s fifth-year option worth $20.2 million, the Green Bay Packers and their unproven starting quarterback reached a compromise that makes sense for both sides. Love agreed to a one-year contract extension on Tuesday morning that will pay him up to $22.5M, including $13.5M in guaranteed money.

I’ve been opining for months that it would be beyond foolish to pick up the option, an opinion that wasn’t shared by fans and the media, most of whom called it a “no-brainer.” Fortunately, Gutekunst used his brain and did the right thing.

Rarely do both sides win in contract negotiations, but that’s what happened in this case. Here’s why everybody should be happy:


They don’t have to guarantee over $20M in 2024 to a quarterback who’s thrown only 83 passes in three seasons. Sure, Love looked good in a brief cameo against the Eagles last November, and sure, he looked more confident in practice, but that’s a far cry from lining up every week against defenses that have prepared game plans specifically designed to stop him.

Had Gutekunst picked up the option, Love’s cap hit for 2024 would’ve been higher than almost every other QB in the league. More importantly, if the former Utah State star struggled in his first season replacing four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers – a real possibility – reducing that number would’ve been problematic. The Packers would’ve had to either extend or restructure the deal, which would’ve pushed more money into future years, something the team wants to avoid.

While Love’s one-year extension will raise his cap hit in 2023, it will significantly lower it for 2024. The team cleared over $5M on Tuesday morning to compensate for the immediate increase by restructuring Darnell Savage’s contract. Ironically, picking up the veteran safety’s fifth-year option last spring proved to be a mistake Gutekunst refused to repeat.


He received over $13M in guaranteed money on Tuesday. That’s pretty good for a QB who’s thrown 83 more passes in the NFL than every person reading this post. That coin is his to keep, regardless of how he plays next season. It also protects him in case of serious injury. Had the Packers declined the option, Love would’ve been guaranteed just over $2M.

Love also has a bit more security today than he did just 24 hours ago. While the Packers could still theoretically move on from the 24-year-old after 2023, that seems highly unlikely. Because his 2024 cap hit is now much more reasonable, giving him a second season under center seems almost certain. That wouldn’t have been the case had the option been declined.


Gutekunst and coach Matt LaFleur can now sit back and see what they have in a QB they liked enough to trade up for in the first round of the 2020 draft, while knowingly pissing off Rodgers. If Love shows promise next season, the two sides will almost certainly agree to a lucrative long-term extension either late in 2023 or early in 2024. If Love struggles, the Packers won’t be crippled by his cap hit in 2024 and will likely begin looking for another QB of the future in next year’s draft.

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Michael Rodney

Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for over 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2004. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey and covered the Philadelphia Eagles for WTXF-TV. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published, and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.

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May 2, 2023 6:13 pm

I’m curious to see the contract details, especially what Love’s cap number will be in 2024. Of course, I’m sure both sides hope that won’t matter and that a long-term extension will happen before then.

May 5, 2023 3:57 am

good piece Michael. this year will certainly be an interesting season for QB evaluation.

come to think of it, unless Cousins re-signs with the Vikings early, the entire NFC North may end up re-evaluating their starting QB by year’s end. the Lions already have Hendon Hooker on their roster. Cousins is in his final year of his contract.

and, while Bears’s fans may currently think Fields is the face of the franchise, the Bears project to have significant capital in round 1 of next year’s draft. like the Packers, the Bears may look for an upgrade at QB next April.

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