Rather than picking up the 5th year option for QB Jordan Love the two sides agreed to a new contract that would replace the option year in 2024.
Packers and Jordan Love have agreed on a one-year contract extension worth up to $22.5 million, including $13.5 million fully guaranteed, per source. pic.twitter.com/OfW45KOu9m— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 2, 2023
This is a rarity for a first round pick in the NFL as this strategy more or less mimics what we see with RFA’s where they are offered a guarantee that is less than the non-guaranteed RFA tender and often the player takes the guaranteed salary since their roster spot is sometimes in jeopardy. This situation is certainly different than that since Love was going to start this season.
Green Bay does not generally do salary guarantees so I would guess that Love will earn $14.5 million this year- a $13.5 million signing bonus and a $1.01 million base salary- which is a significant raise over his current salary of $2.29 million. However, the option for next year was worth a fully guaranteed $20.272 million and it sounds as if he would need to hit incentives to exceed that number.
This is probably one of the more questionable decisions on the player side to potentially take money off the table for the guarantee. It is hard to say how questionable given that we do not yet know the base value of the contract, but given the position he plays there is usually far more upside in having a contract expire.
If the Packers were to decline the option, and you would need to be convinced they were going to do that to take this deal, your next option would be the franchise tag, which is worth far more than the upside of $22.5M that is reached if he plays well. The tag would likely be upwards of $35 million next year. The next option after that is a new contract extension which is what was the outcome for Daniel Jones of the Giants, who went from having his option declined to earning $40 million a year with $81 million fully guaranteed at signing. Jones would have been locked in to around $20 million with no future guarantees had he been offered and taken a deal like this.
For the Packers this would seem to be an easy decision. If he plays well you get a bargain year and you avoid the franchise tag and possibly avoid any extension talks. If he doesn’t play well it did not cost you as much as if you picked up the option and he flames out. They simply extend the evaluation window of a player they were high enough on to draft a few years ago but they have not been able to see much of in NFL games. Love will be sitting there at a reasonable cap charge in 2024 even if he plays poorly keeping the front office free from the criticisms that surrounded the bloated salaries of players like Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield.