The Green Bay Packers made a single trade at the 2023 deadline, and it was a seller's move. The team currently sits at 2-5, with the playoffs becoming more and more unlikely with each passing day. Based on how the team has operated, both now and this past offseason, it doesn't really look like they have a whole lot of faith in quarterback Jordan Love moving forward.
In order to discuss this topic, however, we have to go back in time to the 2020 NFL Draft.
Aaron Rodgers was 36 years old and was coming off a season in which he made the Pro Bowl after completing 62.0% of his passing and tossing 26 touchdowns. Green Bay had gone 13-3 and ultimately lost the NFC Championship Game to the San Francisco 49ers.
Given his age, the end was approaching for Rodgers with the Packers, but he showed no signs of slowing down, and as long as he was playing at an All-Pro level, Green Bay had a legitimate shot at a championship, and would be best served by investing into the team surrounding Rodgers until he began to decline.
At least, that was the prevailing thought.
Instead, the Packers traded up in the first round and took Love out of Utah State, and that was the beginning of the end of Rodgers' time in Green Bay. The front office was attempting to avoid a full-scale implosion once Rodgers either retired or moved on, while keeping their Super Bowl window open. They selected a talented QB prospect who would be allowed to sit and learn until the team and Rodgers decided that it was best for both sides to part ways, and then lead the Packers into the next era.
However, fate had different plans. Rodgers led the Packers to two more 13-3 finishes, and won back-to-back NFL MVPs in two of his finest seasons as a pro. Green Bay fell to the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2021 NFC Championship Game and then lost to the 49ers again in the Divisional Round.
The 2022 campaign did not go nearly as well, as the Packers went 8-9 and missed the playoffs. Over the span of these three seasons, Love threw a total of 83 passes, and instead of picking up his fifth-year option for 2024, Green Bay declined it and signed him to a two-year extension.
The Packers wanted to avoid QB purgatory, and were more comfortable paying Love what he would be worth should he prove himself to be a franchise passer, as opposed to committing to him too soon, only to see him fail to live up to his contract. That was the smartest thing the team could do after somewhat wasting three entire seasons.
Packers show apparent lack of faith in Jordan Love with trade deadline moves
Love was given the keys to the offense in 2023, and the results have been mixed, at best. He has shown flashes of the talent that made him a first-round pick, but has struggled to consistently make the plays he needs to. He is currently completing 57.7% of his [asses, averaging just 6.4 yards per attempt (seventh-lowest in the league), and has thrown 11 touchdowns to eight picks.
Trading Rasul Douglas makes sense from a financial and compensation perspective, as the Packers add a third-round pick and clear up some cap space for next season, but it does hurt to lose such an important piece to an already shaky defense. There are other ways to clear cap space, but it's looking like Douglas is just the beginning of an exodus of talent over the next offseason.
The Packers were expecting to rebuild, but the hope was that they would be rebuilding with a franchise quarterback. Love has yet to prove himself as that, and while he'll almost certainly get another chance in 2024, the team is clearly not showing that they are all-in on Love, or that they feel they have a chance to be competive right now.
There's no use in giving up on Love right now, but at least for the time being, it's looking like the Packers' plan to straddle the line between win now and plan for the future backfired to rob them of the former, and perhaps also the latter.