Opinion: No, drafting Love does not mean the end for Aaron Rodgers.
In New York City, on April 23rd, 2005, Aaron Rodgers waited until the 24th overall pick to hear his name called out. The Green Bay Packers had selected the successor to one of the greatest QBs the game had ever seen, Brett Favre. Favre had flirted with retirement a little bit, but still had a few years left in him. Favre, however, was not happy and said it "wasn't his job to train his replacement."
Three years later, after Favre "retired", Rodgers took over the team and began his own Hall Of Fame career. He won his first and only Super Bowl in his 3rd year as a starter and has been chasing that elusive second title ever since. There have been countless heartbreaks for Rodgers, who has always put the Packers in a position to win. He led the offense to 45 points in an OT loss to the Cardinals, he had them up by 16 points with less than 4 minutes left against Seattle. A career riddled with heartbreak, and after 14 seasons with Coach Mike McCarthy, the packers decided a change was needed.
Matt LaFleur took the reigns from Mccarthy last year and led the Packers to a division title and all the way to the NFC Championship where they fell to the 49ers. The Packers had a few glaring weaknesses last season. They couldn't stop the run no matter what they tried in the NFC Championship, and Rodgers lacked any true explosive receiving weapons with the exception of Davante Adams. So the Packers headed into the offseason with many fans thinking how they will plug the holes.
They signed Devon Funchess and Christian Kirksey in the offseason, but that doesn't seem like a full-blown upgrade considering both players have been plagued with injuries. So, we arrive to the night of this year's draft. Many experts believed the Packers would take one of many receivers in the 1st round, and as their pick approached there were plenty remaining on the board. Then out of nowhere, something completely unexpected happened. They traded up and selected Jordan Love, QB out of Utah State.
Everyone was shocked. Speculation ran wild over what this meant for the Packers and their MVP Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has 4 years remaining on his contract. Many people believe this spells the end for Rodgers, however, I completely disagree with them. I think this is the Packers continuing what has worked for the past 15 years and realizing with how valuable the Qb position is, a 1st round pick is not too expensive of a price to pay.
There are many teams in the NFL who have struggled to find a QB to be the franchise guy. They spend years rotating around either journeyman quarterbacks or promising rookies. The Packers have chosen to go an alternate route. There are a few different ways this situation can go, and I believe they are all worthy of a 1st round pick. Let's look at some of these scenarios.
Best case scenario, Aaron Rodgers stays healthy (something he's had trouble with in the past), and Love sits behind him for four years and takes the reins as Rodgers rides off into the sunset with a Super Bowl championship. It would be great, but extremely rare.
There are rumors that Rodgers will be out of Green Bay after the 2022 season, but my question is why? I can't imagine Love is going to be a better QB than Rodgers in two years and the Packers will have a run-heavy team at that point. That's why they drafted AJ Dillon and three interior linemen through the rest of the draft. Can you imagine the 49ers with Rodgers at QB? That's what they are building.
So let's say Rodgers wants to get traded out of Green Bay after a season or two, which is a possibility. You now have a first-round talent who trained for at least a year under one of the best to ever play, with a very strong running game between Aaron Jones and Dillon. It may take him a couple of years to get to a competitive level, but it took Rodgers a few as well.
You also have the ability to look at trading Love. If Rodgers continues to play at a high level, and you get to the contract year, you will have the option to trade away Love for at the least a high draft pick, so there's value there.
We don't know what was going through the minds of Lafleur or GM Brian Gutekunst, but we can't grade or judge this move for at least another two years, so let's enjoy Rodgers while we can and just realize that the people who do this for a living probably know more than we do.