The Green Bay Packers sure have had a memorable offseason. Indeed, the Aaron Rodgers saga that ended with the four-time MVP’s trade to the New York Jets and the beginning of the Jordan Love era has dominated not only local headlines, but national ones as well. Of course, the Packers did not make any major moves on the free agent market, with Jonathan Owens being their most notable signing. Most of their attempts to upgrade their roster have come, as usual, through the NFL Draft.
While Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst has received more than his fair share of criticism this offseason, his vision for the future of the Packers is slowly coming into view. In fact, it could be argued that, given their salary cap circumstances, Green Bay has exceeded expectations for how much they could improve their roster this offseason.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell Names the Green Bay Packers the 5th Most Improved Team in the NFL
In an article recently published by ESPN, NFL analyst Bill Barnwell ranked every NFL team by how much they improved this offseason. He had the Green Bay Packers fifth on his list.
Of what the Packers did right this offseason, Barnwell wrote:
“They landed a haul for Aaron Rodgers. If we take the position the Packers had a strong suspicion they were going to be moving on from Rodgers on the day of the Super Bowl, it’s tough to argue with what general manager Brian Gutekunst was able to get in return for his legendary quarterback. Rodgers netted Green Bay a second-round pick in 2023, a jump of two spots in the first round and a pick that will likely become a first-rounder in 2024.
“Yes, Rodgers might be a superstar for the Jets and help them compete for a Super Bowl over the next two seasons. Even if that happens, Gutekunst won a blinking contest with the Jets and got a great price.
“Gutekunst also managed to find a team-friendly solution for his second-biggest conundrum of the offseason when he convinced Jordan Love‘s camp to take a $13.5 million guarantee for the 2024 season in lieu of the Packers picking up a fifth-year option, which would have paid him $20.3 million. In all, the Packers saved about $10 million between 2023 and 2024 with the tactic.”
Indeed, Gutekunst did get the most he could have for Rodgers, who was not going to play for Green Bay in 2023. The deal marked the second year in a row in which the general manager was able to get top draft capital for players that were not going to play for the Packers anyway. Before the 2022 NFL Draft, he traded Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders for a first and second round pick.
The trade of Rodgers and the contract extension for Love were indeed great moves, but Barnwell does not dive into how the move improves the team on the field. Of course, Green Bay has a $40 million dead cap hit for Rodgers this year, but otherwise saved $107 million over the next two years. The savings will help the team add and/or retain talent around Love.
There is also the early notion that the offense is building great chemistry with Love already this offseason, something that they did not do with Rodgers last year due to the future Hall of Famer’s decision to skip voluntary team activities. The chemistry that Love is building with his skill players could very well lead to an improved offense in 2023, especially considering the Packers’ weak schedule.
Barnwell did note, however, that the Packers’ lack of experience in their quarterback room is something that has not gone well for the team. Between Love, Danny Etling, and draft pick Sean Clifford, the team’s quarterbacks have a combined 83 career pass attempts, and they all belong to Love. However, he also notes that the last time the team’s quarterback room was this inexperienced was in 2008 when Rodgers, Brian Brohm, and Matt Flynn entered the season with a combined 59 career pass attempts, and they all belonged to Rodgers.
For the latest on the Packers’ offseason moves and how they’re shaping up for the new season, check out our Packers News. For updates on the Aaron Rodgers saga, visit our Aaron Rodgers News section. Stay tuned for more updates!
Frequently Asked Question’s
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