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In the modern NFL, a team will only go as far as its quarterback. For the past 12 years, the Packers have had plenty of success thanks to Aaron Rodgers. No player can stay on the roster forever, though; it seems like everyone in the Green Bay front office has grasped that reality, given the offseason addition of Jordan Love.

While Rodgers is still the main man in Wisconsin, the Packers’ brass just sent their starting quarterback a $12 million message. No one, not even the current face of the franchise, is irreplaceable.

Aaron Rodgers has become the face of the Green Bay Packers franchise

For football fans of a certain age, it’s impossible to imagine the Green Bay Packers with anyone other than Bart Starr or Brett Favre under center. Aaron Rodgers, however, has done pretty well during his time in Wisconsin.

The quarterback, however, wasn’t always a star. Coming out of high school, Rodgers was deemed too small to survive under center at a big-time NCAA program. Faced with limited football prospects, he headed to Butte Community College; after a strong freshman season, he transferred to Cal and became a household name.

While the 2005 NFL draft didn’t go according to plan, Rodgers landed with the Green Bay Packers. He spent three years backing up Brett Favre before claiming the starting job; while it’s never easy replacing a legend, the young quarterback didn’t miss a beat. Since joining the Packers, Rodgers has thrown for 46,946 and 364 touchdowns. He’s also taken home two NFL MVP titles, claimed victory in Super Bowl XLV, and earned Super Bowl MVP honors.

The Packers are guaranteeing Jordan Love’s entire $12 million contract

While Aaron Rodgers is still the Green Bay Packers franchise quarterback, it seems like his time under center is running out. The team’s front office recently sent Rodgers a $12 million message in the form of Jordan Love.

In case you forgot what happened during the 2020 NFL draft, the Packers traded up to the 26th overall pick in order to select Love. While that gesture already sent a message—you don’t trade up during the draft and expend additional capital if you don’t believe in a player—the club doubled down on Wednesday.

As reported by Mike Garafolo, the Packers inked Love to a $12,383,470 contract with a $6,566,160 signing bonus. All of the money, however, is guaranteed. While laying out $6 million over four years isn’t a major expense by NFL standards, it does tell you how Green Bay feels about their new quarterback; there’s simply no reason to guarantee a player money if you’re not confident about their place in the organization.

Jordan Love’s deal puts Aaron Rodgers on the clock

Ever since the Packers drafted Jordan Love, Aaron Rodgers has said all the right things. Wednesday’s news, however, seems to solidify Green Bay’s timeline moving forward.

Due to salary cap constraints and potential dead money, the Packers can’t legitimately move on from Aaron Rodger until the 2022 season, making that the presumptive target date. By then, Love will have spent two years learning the ropes and will still be under contract for two more seasons; if Green Bay is confident he’s the guy, they can make the switch then and see how he adjusts before making a new contract offer. If, for whatever reason, Love isn’t ready, the Packers can keep Rodgers around for the remainder of his term and try again.

Obviously, there’s no telling what the future holds; for all we know, Jordan Love could suffer an injury or never adjust to the pro game. By fully guaranteeing his contract, though, the Packers have sent everyone a message. Aaron Rodgers, if nothing else, is on borrowed time.

Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference