Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love: Who will serve as the Packers' backup QB in 2023
With Aaron Rodgers on his way out and Jordan Love ascending to the starting QB job, who will the Packers choose to back up the game's most important position?
Despite multiple weeks passing since Aaron Rodgers publicly declared his intention to play for the New York Jets in 2023, the four-time MVP quarterback officially remains a member of the Green Bay Packers. But though trade talks have unfolded at a snail's pace, the end result hasn't changed. The Packers will eventually deal away Rodgers and formally kick off the Jordan Love era.
But while the spotlight has understandably fallen on Rodgers and Love to this point, another significant matter looms in the shadows: Who will serve as the backup quarterback in Green Bay this season?
At present, the Packers have only one other signal-caller under contract, journeyman Danny Etling who has yet to play a snap in a meaningful game in any of his five years in the NFL. Though he can plausibly earn the job, he seems more likely to stick around Green Bay as a third quarterback stashed on the practice squad. Even if Etling proves more capable than an emergency reserve, the team will bring in competition.
"I think you can go a couple of different ways with it to be honest," Packers head coach LaFleur said this past week at the NFL's annual league meeting. "You can try to get a veteran in here that's done it and can help, because I think it's always important, obviously, just the relationships within that room. I think it's important for a quarterback to have another quarterback and player to lean on in some of those times, especially when you're going through a little adversity.
"If you fall in love with somebody in the draft, you can draft a young guy. There's a lot of different ways to do it. I've been a part of a lot of different quarterback rooms. I just think you got to try to figure out and get the best guy available."
The Packers could realistically pursue a proven QB, a rookie, or both if the right opportunities present themselves. Still, with limited salary-cap resources, they will have to weigh the benefit of experience against potential cost savings. And not all veterans offer true on-field impact, adding another complication to the process.
The Brian Brohm division
(Rookies with more than backup potential)
When the Packers made the controversial and difficult decision to trade Brett Favre and move forward with Rodgers in 2008, they didn't actually put all their eggs in one basket. The same year, the team drafted another quarterback in the second round -- Louisville's Brian Brohm -- to provide some protection in the event Rodgers faltered.
Though Brohm became a mere footnote in the story of Rodgers' ascension, the decision still informs how the Packers could look at the current transition to Love. General manager Brian Gutekunst served as a part of the personnel department back in 2008 and has already followed his predecessor in selecting a quarterback in the first round with a future Hall of Famer still playing at a high level. Perhaps he will follow history again and take a signal-caller in the upcoming draft as an insurance policy to Love.
With other, bigger needs to fill, the Packers could wait until later in the draft to take a quarterback should they opt to add a rookie. Taking signal-callers in the mid-to-late rounds has historically proven to be a fool's errand, but Green Bay can take some chances with 10 selections in the upcoming draft (not counting any picks from the expected Rodgers trade).
If the Packers do take a quarterback outside of the top 100 spots, an athletic prospect like BYU's Jaren Hall could make sense. He operated in an offensive system that, like Green Bay's, features a heavy focus on wide-zone runs and play-action concepts built off them. Hall also offers a favorable athletic profile even if he lacks ideal size for the position.