Gutekunst unsure if Packers will exercise Jordan Love’s 5th year option

The Green Bay Packers have another decision to make at the quarterback position this offseason that doesn’t directly involve Aaron Rodgers. This Spring, the Packers have to decide whether or not they are exercising Jordan Love’s fifth-year option for the 2024 season.

As a former first-round pick, Love has a team option for his fifth NFL season in 2024. If the Packers pick it up, Love will be under contract next season on a one-year deal. If they decline it, he will become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

The value of these fifth-year option contracts are pre-determined by the NFL, and take into account a player’s position as well as their performance on their rookie deals, so there isn’t any negotiating between the Packers and Love involved. For Love, if the Packers pick up his option, he will earn $20.272 million, fully guaranteed, during the 2024 season.

When asked about whether or not the Packers planned to pick Love’s option up at the NFL Owners’ Meetings on Monday, GM Brian Gutekunst was non-committal.

“We’re still kinda working through that,” said Gutekunst on Monday. “A lot of it obviously right now with three quarterbacks on the roster; we’ll see what transpires in the next month or month and a half.”

Now, as always, we need to be mindful of some GM-speak taking place with Gutekunst, especially as the Packers are in the middle of trade negotiations with the New York Jets about Aaron Rodgers. But of the many offseason decisions Gutey has to make, picking up Love’s option should be one of the easier ones.

For starters, picking this option up has no salary cap impact on the 2023 season. Love still comes with a low cap hit of $3.94 million. Overall, there is little risk in exercising this option, but Green Bay does gain some security. While guaranteeing $20.272 million and taking on a cap hit of that magnitude in 2024 seems like a lot – especially for someone with so few snaps – in the grand scheme of the current quarterback market, that’s a modest number.

Looking ahead to the projected quarterback cap hits around the NFL next season, Love would rank 18th at that figure. If this season he shows that the Packers should commit to him long-term, then an extension will take place next offseason, thus lowering that cap hit.

On the other hand, if Green Bay feels the need to begin looking for a new quarterback, they then have Love to lean on so the rookie doesn’t have to start right away, and with Rodgers’ contract no longer on the books next season, Love’s cap hit plus a rookie deal would still be below league average in terms of cap space devoted to the quarterback position.

Even at $20-plus million in cap space going to Love, the Packers could still go about their offseason in 2024 fairly normally, with Love then off the books in 2025 in this scenario, giving Green Bay the opportunity to really begin building around their future rookie quarterback for his second season.

In part, the Packers are in the current position that they are because of the Year 3 jump that Love made and the confidence that the organization gained in him being their starting quarterback. We caught a glimpse of this against Philadelphia, where Love looked confident in his decision-making, along with improved footwork and accuracy as he went through his progressions.

Of course, at the end of the day, the Packers still want to win games, but the ultimate goal for this upcoming season is to figure out whether or not Love can be the guy moving forward. Seeing continued progression throughout the season will be key, even if that doesn’t always translate to wins.

The deadline for the Green Bay Packers to either pick up or decline Love’s fifth-year option is May 1st, shortly after the NFL Draft.