The Green Bay Packers pulled off maybe the most surprising selection of Thursday night's first round in the 2020 NFL Draft,despite future Hall of Fame starter Aaron Rodgers having four years left on his contract. But any concerns about how Rodgers, who once irked Brett Favre in Green Bay with his unexpected draft-day arrival, might react to the Love addition were apparently quelled late Thursday when coach Matt LaFleur spoke with Rodgers himself.
According to NFL Network's Mike Silver, LaFleur was part of the Packers' "virtual welcoming committee" for Love, the 26th overall pick, but he also spent Thursday evening placing a call to the 36-year-old Rodgers. He came away from the call heralding No. 12 as "the consummate pro," per Silver, and has already begun reaffirming Rodgers as Green Bay's QB of the present and near future.
"Obviously, Aaron Rodgers is the leader of this football team, and my expectation is that he will be for a long time," LaFleur told Silver. "I sincerely love the guy, and I love working with him, and it's a hell of a lot of fun. I'm really excited about where we can take this, and that hasn't changed one bit."
Is LaFleur being honest? Probably. Rodgers has talked openly about thriving with Green Bay's first-year head coach in 2019, and the duo worked well enough together in Year One of a new regime to come within one win of a Super Bowl appearance. There's also the fact Rodgers inked a new deal just before the 2019 season and can't reasonably be cut until after the 2021 campaign when he'll still cost Green Bay a $17 million dead cap hit if released. But it's also impossible to ignore the reality: The Packers just actively moved up to draft a QB, which means they almost certainly intend to have that new QB start within the next few years.
Either way, Rodgers doesn't appear to be in any danger of being usurped early. While the veteran has seen at least some decline in production over his last two seasons, he remains one of the NFL's most accomplished arms. Love, on the other hand, was widely considered one of the rawest and most polarizing QB prospects in the 2020 class -- a talent who would benefit greatly from sitting and learning behind a veteran to start his pro career.