LOCALS IN THE NFL

Ireland: Aaron Rodgers’ Decision On 2023 Will Impact Local Quarterbacks

Mar 10, 2023, 1:45 PM | Updated: 2:18 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Future Pro Football Hall of Fame and current Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers currently has a decision to make on his future in the NFL.

Aaron Rodgers to play or not to play in 2023 — and where

The four-time NFL MVP is reportedly in the midst of deciding whether or not he wants to continue his playing career, and for which team, or chose to retire from the game that’s been a major part of his life.

If Rodgers decides to play professional football in 2023, his decision will impact a pair of quarterbacks with ties to the state of Utah.

Remain with the Packers or retire

The current QB2 for the Packers is former Utah State standout Jordan Love. Prior to his time in the league, the Bakersfield, California native played at USU from 2016-19. During his time with the Aggies, Love threw for 8,600 yards, 60 touchdowns, and 29 interceptions with a completion rate of 61 percent. In 2020, the Packers traded up to select Love with the No. 26 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Since then, Love has played sparingly while backing up Rodgers. During Love’s first two seasons in Green Bay, the young quarterback watched Rodgers win back-to-back NFL MVP awards.

RELATED: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers Says He Enjoys Being With Jordan Love, Rookie Has ‘Bright Future’

Love was inactive for every game of his rookie campaign. However, in 2021 and 2022, the signal-caller saw his first playing time, including a start against the Kansas City Chiefs two seasons ago.

Although Love’s in-game experience has been limited, he’s shown flashes of the potential that made him a first round pick. He, like Rodgers with Brett Favre, has had the chance to sit behind an all-time great and watch how the quarterback position is played at the highest level. Love has been waiting his turn for three years and counting.

If Rodgers decides to remain in Green Bay for 2023, the Packers will be thrust into an interesting situation. Love is nearing the end of his rookie contract and the Packers would likely want to see more game action from him before committing themselves to a significant contract with the former Aggie. Green Bay could also look to trade Love if Rodgers remains in Wisconsin for another season or two.

If Rodgers chooses to retire, Love will immediately become the frontrunner to be Green Bay’s starting quarterback next season and potentially for many years to come.

RELATED: NFL Insider Says Jordan Love ‘Will Win More Super Bowls’ With Packers Than Aaron Rodgers

Request trade to the New York Jets

Aside from those options, the multi-time MVP could also ask the Packers to trade him to another team. According to multiple reports, Rodgers has been in contact with the New York Jets about the possibility of playing in the AFC East next season. Green Bay reportedly granted Rodgers permission to speak with the Jets, who flew out to California to visit the veteran quarterback in early March.

In 2021, the Jets selected former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft. After a standout career at Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah, Wilson attended BYU and became a star player for the Cougars. During his three seasons in Provo, Wilson threw for 7,652 yards, 56 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions.

Wilson’s rookie campaign was a rollercoaster-like season filled with ups and downs. The first-year player threw for 2,334 yards and nine touchdowns. However, Wilson also tossed 11 interceptions and missed about a month of the season due to a knee injury.

Entering 2022, Wilson was expected to take his game up a level after helping the Jets to a four-win season as a rookie. During the preseason, Wilson suffered another knee injury, one that kept him from starting the regular season. In October 2022, the signal-caller played for the first time and helped New York to its first of four consecutive victories. After a pair of losses to the New England Patriots, the Jets benched Wilson for nearly a month. In mid-December, New York was forced to start Wilson due to injuries in its quarterback room. The Jets, who were in the middle of fighting for a playoff spot, lost two straight games with Wilson as QB1 and he was benched again, this time for the remainder of the season, New York failed to qualify for the postseason.

In Wilson’s third start of 2022, the Jets defeated Rodgers and the Packers. The victory was a sweet one for Wilson. Rodgers was one of Wilson’s idols growing up.

RELATED: Aaron Rodgers Responds To Swag Critique From BYU QB Zach Wilson

“Dreams do come true! I can’t tell you how many times @ZachWilson and I have watched Rogers on tv or studied his every movement on YouTube,” the quarterback’s father, Mike Wilson, wrote on Twitter. “Today he gets a chance to play against him. Parents if your child has a dream, embrace it. Sometimes dreams do come true.”

Although the game was the first time Wilson and Rodgers had played against each other, it wasn’t their first meeting.

During the 2021 preseason, Wilson and the Jets met up with the Packers for a couple of days of joint practices. Wilson had a “fanboy” moment meeting and practicing with Rodgers.

RELATED: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers Says He’s Excited For Jets Rookie Zach Wilson

“It’s like I want to do what he’s doing, but when you’ve got 16 years of experience, and the checks and the calls he’s making on the field. If I could spend more time with him and keep asking questions I would,” Wilson said of practicing with Rodgers in 2021. “I’m a big fanboy too. We all have to kind of pretend like we’ve been there before. We’re enjoying just being out here and being able to talk to him. We’re all technically at the same level now — we’re all in the NFL — but we’re all still kind of like, ‘You know what? That’s Aaron Rodgers. That’s kind of crazy.’”

“Zach’s a good kid,” Rodgers said after practicing with Wilson in 2021 “It’s fun to see him.”

Now, the Jets may have already decided that Wilson isn’t their QB1 of the future after a rocky start to his tenure in New York. However, if Rodgers decides to seek a trade to the Jets, what better player to help the former BYU star revive his NFL career than his idol?

New York could look to deal Wilson in a trade this offseason but the Jets’ front office and coaching staff have continued to state publically that Wilson is a part of the future plans.

“Zach has got all the talent in the world and we have all the confidence in the world in him,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said of Wilson in January. “It’s just like I’ve said from this ‘reset,’ we’re going to grind with him, we are.”

Rodgers’ decision will have an impact on Love and potentially Wilson. Until then, the ball is in his court.

Kyle Ireland is a Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com and co-host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on Twitter (@kyleireland) and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).

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Ireland: Aaron Rodgers’ Decision On 2023 Will Impact Local Quarterbacks