The Green Bay Packers were clearly thinking of the long-term future of their franchise when they selected Jordan Love in the first round of the NFL Draft. Their current franchise quarterback, however, doesn't plan on giving up the throne.
Green Bay doesn't expect Aaron Rodgers to relinquish his power, either, nor will the franchise make that decision for him.
"We have one of the best to ever lace them up, and we're shooting for championships for as long as he's here," Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst told Jason Wilde of The Athletic. "And we expect him to be here for quite a while."
How long will the Packers actually keep Rodgers on their roster? Based on Rodgers' current contract situation, the 2021 season could be the final year he's in a Green Bay uniform. Rodgers has a cap number of $36,352,000 that season, but the Packers save only $4,796,000 in cap space if they were to release him after 2020 (per Over The Cap). After the 2021 season, Rodgers has a cap number of $39,852,000, but the Packers save $22,648,000 in cap space if they were to release him and get out of his contract.
The Packers could also take the massive cap hit in 2022 and wait until the final year of Rodgers' contract to make a move. Rodgers will be 40 years old entering the 2023 season and will have a cap hit of $28,352,000. The Packers would save $25,500,000 if they were to release him that season, giving Love three seasons to learn the offense -- similar to Rodgers.
Rodgers was selected in the first round, like Love, and was the heir apparent to Brett Favre. Rodgers threw just 33 passes in the NFL his first two-and-a-half seasons, before having to fill in for Favre in the second quarter of a Week 13 game against the Dallas Cowboys in 2007. With the Packers down 27-10, Rodgers went 18 of 26 for 201 yards with a touchdown as Green Bay lost 37-27.
The Packers lost the game, but they knew that night they had a franchise quarterback in Rodgers. Just like Rodgers did that night, Love will have to earn the spot of bring the Packers' next starting quarterback. The job won't be handed to him because he's a first-round pick.
"Because Jordan Love is probably not going to be the next Aaron Rodgers. The odds are not in his favor," former Packers linebacker Brady Poppinga, who was drafted in the same year and same class as Rodgers, said to Wilde. "Everybody acts like this is a foregone conclusion that this Jordan Love guy is going to just take over one day in spite of all that he's going to have to absorb and overcome and manage.
"He too is going to have to earn it."