Matt LaFleur Sees Aaron Rodgers as Packers Starting QB 'For a Really Long Time'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2020

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, right, in the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

After the team traded up to select Jordan Love in the 2020 NFL draft, Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur reaffirmed the franchise's long-term commitment to Aaron Rodgers

"Aaron is our quarterback and I see him here for a really long time," LaFleur told reporters Sunday.

As soon as Love's name came off the board, many compared his arrival to that of Rodgers. The Packers used a first-rounder on Rodgers in 2005 despite rostering Brett Favre. Favre and Green Bay had a difficult separation when the team was ready to elevate Rodgers into the starting role in 2008.

The situations aren't necessarily parallels, though, making it even trickier for the Packers to manage this time around. 

Whether Favre would continue playing became a year-to-year topic toward the end of his Green Bay tenure. The front office couldn't afford to keep waiting him out and needed to line up a succession plan.

Rodgers, on the other hand, is signed through 2023, and the 36-year-old has signaled a desire to keep playing into his 40s.

During a July appearance on The Ringer's 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt podcast, the eight-time Pro Bowler remained diplomatic when discussing the draft. He also listed a few different wide receivers the team could've targeted instead in the first round.

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ESPN's Rob Demovsky wrote in April the selection of Love potentially showed how LaFleur wanted to somewhat lessen Rodgers' general influence. The Athletic's Bob McGinn also wrote that he thought the coach "simply had enough of Rodgers' act and wanted to change the narrative" and the team "would gain leverage with their imperial quarterback and his passive-aggressive style."

LaFleur stands to gain nothing from publicly undermining Rodgers or making it look like he's shoving the Packers legend out the door.

Still, LaFleur's comments Sunday naturally lead to a question about what he considers "a really long time." Sooner or later, Love will get a shot because the alternative is wasting a first-round pick on a quarterback who never sees the field.