It’s Time for the Green Bay Packers to Admit Their Mistake and Fix Things With Aaron Rodgers by Trading Jordan Love at the NFL Trade Deadline

At 7-1 and coming off the most impressive win of the Matt LaFleur era, it’s time for the Green Bay Packers to admit they were wrong in trying to move on from Aaron Rodgers a few years early. It’s time for the Packers to finally go all-in on Rodgers and trade backup quarterback Jordan Love before the 2021 NFL trade deadline.

Rodgers is coming off an MVP season and is in the running for another one. He’s emotionally invested in the team’s success, and his leadership has helped the Packers secure a seven-game win streak.

The Packers are not just one of the best teams in the NFC; they look like arguably the top team in the NFL. General manager Brian Gutekunst has built a deep team that has withstood injuries to many top players, and with some of those players soon coming back, the Packers could end up being a juggernaut.

The time is now to make a move and secure Green Bay’s place at the top of the NFL as the playoffs loom in the future. A Super Bowl win is a must for Green Bay, and a considerable trade right before the deadline would strengthen the team and prove to its MVP quarterback that the front office is finally all-in.

The Green Bay Packers need to admit they made a mistake by drafting Jordan Love

Packers' QB Jordan Love
Jordan Love #10 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to throw a pass against the Houston Texans in the first half during the preseason game at Lambeau Field | Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Every team with an aging star quarterback needs a succession plan, so that’s not where the Packers’ front office went wrong. Drafting a quarterback like Love in the first round is a wise investment in the organization’s future. 

Drafting Love wasn’t the mistake by Gutekunst. The error was when he drafted Love.

The Packers traded up and took Love just a few months after losing in the NFC Championship Game to the San Francisco 49ers. They looked to be a piece or two away from another run to the Super Bowl, and Rodgers had bought into LaFleur’s system and was once again playing transcendent football.

Trading up to take a quarterback in the first round was a slap in the face to Rodgers, and it was a sign that Green Bay was more interested in building for the future than the here and now. To be sure, part of a general manager’s job is keeping an eye on the future, but with the pieces the Packers already had in place, one can’t help but wonder where this team would be today if Gutekunst took a player who could play in his first two seasons.

Of course, defenders of the Love trade would point out that the Packers are still one of the top teams in the NFL, but the pick undoubtedly set into motion the drama of the 2021 offseason. The Packers almost lost Rodgers to trade or even retirement. That probably wouldn’t have been the case if Gutekunst had drafted a wide receiver or linebacker instead of Love.

Love didn’t suit up in 2020 and played a handful of snaps in the 2021 preseason.

Green Bay has a lot on the line in this “last dance” season

Jordan Love and Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers
Jordan Love #10 and Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers work out during training camp at Ray Nitschke Field | Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Rodgers has seemed much happier as of late, and winning has certainly played into that. The fact of the matter is that the bad feelings from earlier in the offseason seem to be out of sight, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily out of mind for the star quarterback.

Complicating things for the Packers, their star wideout and arguably the top wide receiver in the NFL, Davante Adams, isn’t yet signed past this season. He and Rodgers entered 2021 seemingly feeling that they were embarking on their own “last dance.” 

Green Bay is not yet guaranteed a future with both Adams and Rodgers in it, making 2021 the Packers’ best chance to get one more Super Bowl ring in the Rodgers era if something drastic doesn’t happen.

Gutekunst won’t admit it, but he seems to understand that.

He’s been aggressive with roster moves and has done everything he can to keep the defense stable despite dealing with injuries to Za’Darius Smith and Jaire Alexander. The Packers signed Jaylon Smith upon his release from the Dallas Cowboys, and then a few weeks later, they picked up former Houston pass-rusher Whitney Mercilus.

Rasul Douglas, who secured the game-winning interception against Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals, was actually picked up off the Cardinals’ practice squad just a few weeks before making that massive play for Green Bay.

Earlier in the offseason, Gutekunst signed linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, who is playing at a Pro Bowl level for Green Bay. 

The Packers have finally been aggressive, and they’re winning as a result. 

The potential return for Jordan Love could put Green Bay over the top

Jordan Love of the Green Bay Packers
Jordan Love #10 of the Green Bay Packers throws a pass against the Houston Texans in the first half during the preseason game at Lambeau Field | Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

With players like David Bakhtiari, Adams, and Za’Darius Smith all potentially returning soon, Green Bay could be getting healthy at the right time. That’s a phenomenon the Packers and Rodgers know well, as their 2011 Super Bowl run happened much in part because hurt players got healthy as the season went on, and the players who stepped up for them in the meantime became solid role players on a very deep team. 

The 2021 season feels eerily similar for the Packers, though Gutekunst can still plug some holes.

Tight end Robert Tonyan is going to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. There’s a big hole in the offense right there. Other than at tight end, Green Bay’s offense can still use a solid No. 2 wideout to go alongside Adams. That’s something else Gutekunst needs to consider before the Nov. 2 trade deadline.

Defensively, the Packers have been winning despite a rotation of backups stepping up because of injury. Another stud player on the defensive line or in the secondary could take Green Bay to the next level.

One more aggressive move at the trade deadline could put Green Bay over the top, and nothing would be more aggressive than trading Love.

Some teams would love (pun intended) the chance to take on a project like Love because even in his limited snaps, he’s shown the potential to be an NFL starter

Davis Mills is currently starting for the Houston Texans. With Deshaun Watson likely out the door, wouldn’t the Texans want a chance at a quarterback like Love? Perhaps a trade featuring Brandin Cooks coming back to the Packers would make sense.

Daniel Jones has been highly underwhelming for the New York Giants. With a player like Evan Engram filling Green Bay’s new need at tight end, there could be a win-win in sight for the two storied NFL franchises.

The Denver Broncos had been reported to have high interest in Rodgers when he was potentially looking to be traded. Could Love suffice as an intriguing consolation prize if the Broncos send Jerry Jeudy or even Von Miller back to the Packers?

Of course, Gutekunst would have to figure out the financials, but the dirty secret in the NFL is that the salary cap really is just a formality. Good general managers know how to manipulate the cap by pushing money off into the future or in the form of bonuses. The truth is, no matter Green Bay’s financial situation, if Gutekunst wants to make a trade bad enough, he’ll be able to make it work.

Trading Love would accomplish multiple things for the Packers.

With one trade, the Packers could recommit to Rodgers while making a statement to Adams that his long-term production is also essential to the team. Gutekunst could then extend both players and put this drama behind all parties.

The Packers could also add the final piece to the puzzle that would help Rodgers and his teammates finally get over the hump in the NFC and win another Super Bowl.

If Gutekunst plays it right, multiple Super Bowls could still be in reach for the Packers, and the question of Rodgers’ successor could be pushed down the road as he further cements his legacy in Green Bay.

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