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Packers' Matt LaFleur: Jordan Love 'Light-years Ahead' of Where He Was Last Season

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 20, 2022

Jordan Love (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is pleased with the development of third-year quarterback Jordan Love, saying he's "light-years ahead" of where he was at this point last season.

Love completed 12 of his 24 passes for 113 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions in Friday's 20-10 preseason with over the New Orleans Saints.

"I know the numbers don't necessarily reflect probably how I feel," LaFleur told reporters. "He stood in the pocket and was throwing on rhythm. Unfortunately again we had too many drops. He was decisive. I think that's the big thing from him. I see a much more decisive player out there. I think that's going to lead to a much more effective player."

Although Love is ticketed for another season as Aaron Rodgers' backup, his progress is still paramount as Green Bay's front office attempts to navigate its future plans under center.

Next offseason, the Packers will have to decide whether to pick up the 23-year-old Utah State product's fifth-year option for 2024, which would include a significant increase in his salary-cap hit.

Since Love isn't likely to hit any of the playing time or Pro Bowl thresholds, he'll be in line for the basic option. That was $19.6 million for QBs from the 2019 draft class ahead of this year's option deadline in May, per OverTheCap. It typically increases slightly each season.

His rookie contract features cap hits of $3.4 million and $3.9 million over the next two years, which is reasonable for a backup signal-caller, but a jump toward $20 million would be tough to handle if he's going to remain No. 2 on the depth chart.

A lot depends on how long Rodgers, 38, wants to play. He's posted back-to-back MVP seasons and physically appears like he could follow in Tom Brady's footsteps by playing into his mid-40s.

The 10-time Pro Bowler has flirted with the idea of retirement in recent years, however, which is part of the reason Green Bay invested a first-round pick in Love despite having a top-tier quarterback on its roster.

Love hasn't played up to a first-round standard in his opportunities so far, including his first regular-season start last year while Rodgers was in COVID-19 protocols, but it's also hardly been an ideal growth situation with such limited first-team reps.

The situation is going to carry a lot of intrigue over the next 12 months as he could land on the trade block if Rodgers remains committed to playing. The front office probably doesn't want a $20 million backup, but it also won't want to lose a high draft pick to free agency for no return.

For now, it sounds like LaFleur is confident Love can handle the starting role if called upon at some point this season.

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