After the Packers drafted Jordan Love , Aaron Rodgers did his best to make sure his future replacement never saw the field. The Packers' decision to take Love set a fire under Rodgers, who immediately proceeded to win two straight MVP awards once Love joined the team.
With Rodgers playing so well -- and because he's so protective of his position -- there was a thought that Love might not ever see the field as long as Rodgers was still wearing a Packers uniform. However, it appears Rodgers is now open to the idea of Love getting some playing time this year if the Packers get eliminated from the playoff race.
"Look, I'd love to finish the season out, but I understand this is a business and there's a lot of us kind of older guys who play a decent amount and they might want to see some younger guys play," Rodgers said Wednesday, via ESPN. "Hopefully we don't have to have that conversation. But if that conversation comes up, I'll approach that with an open mind and without any bitterness or resentment. Obviously, like I said, I want to win out and we don't have to have those conversations. I understand if we don't that's a possibility to have that conversation."
At 4-8, the Packers are still mathematically alive in the playoff race, but that might not be the case much longer. Once they're officially eliminated, it would make a lot of sense for Green Bay to let Love finish the season. Rodgers seems to realize that the possibility of him being benched is a conversation that will need to happen at some point in the near future.
Love saw his first extensive playing time of the season during Green Bay's 40-33 loss to the Eagles in Week 12. After Rodgers went down with an injury, Love came in and looked impressive, completing 6 of 9 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. The Packers would probably love to get Love on the field for a few more games this year since they have a huge decision to make this offseason.
The third-year QB was drafted in 2020, which means Green Bay is going to have to make a decision on his fifth-year option by May. Making that decision will probably be at least slightly easier if they see him start two or three games before the end of the season.
Rodgers, who wanted Love nowhere near the field in 2020 and 2021, sounded proud of the quarterback's performance against the Eagles.
"It was really nice to watch," Rodgers said of Love during an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show show this week, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I feel like an older brother watching him do well. I care about the kid a lot. Fun to see his growth. Fun to just see him just kind of relaxing out there. Once you can make a few plays it kind of takes the anxiety out of the body and the tension out of the body. To see him make accurate throws and do what he's been doing, it's been fun to watch."
As for this week, it sounds like Rodgers. The Packers QB was asked if he had thought about resting his injuries in Week 13 so that he could start getting healthy for next season, and he offered an ominous answer to that question.
"That's an assumption that this place won't look any different next year," Rodgers said. "So I think that's part of the conversation."
What that means is that it's possible Rodgers isn't even 100% sure that he's going to be back next season. If Rodgers does want to return for 2023, the Packers will welcome him with open arms and that's mostly because they won't have a choice. The QB has $59.5 million in guaranteed money coming his way next season, and trading him or cutting him wouldn't be easy considering the dead cap hit Green Bay would incur.