It’s been almost two months since the Green Bay Packers traded Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets, shipping him out shortly before the NFL Draft at the end of April.
In the 60 or so days since, with the team breaking for the summer following the mandatory minicamp this week, the manner in which the front office and current roster have navigated what could have been a chaotic offseason has created an aura of both optimism and quiet confidence that seems to be misunderstood on a national level.
The six weeks between Rodgers’ appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on March 15 and when the Packers officially traded him on April 26 was certainly tense.
Rodgers had gravitas around Lambeau Field, and there was tense speculation about what the inevitable deal would look like between Brian Gutekunst and Jets general manager Joe Douglas.
Romeo Doubs on QB change: “It is going to be a change. No doubt about that. In the end, I’m glad I have Jordan, and I’m truly confident in what he can do.”
Why is Doubs confident?
“Because all of us, we’ve worked with him before. We know what situation we’re in right now.”
— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) May 31, 2023
The haul Green Bay got in return helped the team land Hercules, aka Lukas Van Ness, and plenty of help for Jordan Love. Plus, they got a conditional pick from the Jets next year that Packers fans will be able to look forward to all season as a bonus coming in April of 2024.
With no leverage, as many analysts pointed out, Gutekunst still put together an exciting draft class.
That trade, and the draft just a few days after, helped to cleanse the Green Bay faithful’s palate and create a buzz around the team unlike anything over the past decade.
It’s not necessarily a buzz of We’re going to win the Super Bowl but more of a Win or lose, this could be a really fun team to watch. The drama surrounding Rodgers over the past few seasons got to a point where many fans were ready to move on, partly because of Jordan Love‘s exciting, unknown potential.
Love has had a tough task, navigating the post-Rodgers waters as the unquestioned QB1 on the roster. He has struck a perfect balance of humility and optimism with his words and actions in minicamp.
From gassing up rookies like Luke Musgrave to dropping such a perfect pass to Christian Watson that every sportswriter in Wisconsin had to tweet about it, Love has performed well and supported his play with clichéd-but-necessary soundbites during his media availability.
“I think we’ve got playmakers on offense. I think all the weapons we have at receiver, tight end, and running back, we’ve got guys who can make plays,” Love told the Wisconsin State Journal last week.
“I think once everybody gets rolling, gets comfortable with the offense and being where they need to be every play, the sky’s the limit for us.”
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) June 18, 2023
Love is also getting the support that doesn’t always come for young players, at least publicly. He’s got everything from Romeo Doubs giving him a vote of confidence, to Jaire Alexander calling Love the best quarterback in the league.
While that’s certainly a tad hyperbolic, it’s indicative of the positive vibes emanating from Lambeau Field, breaking free from the clouds of uncertainty that had been swirling in the final stages of the Aaron Rodgers era.
With minicamp done for the spring, and the Packers off until the final week of July, the dust can finally settle on an offseason that began turbulently but ended on a note of optimism.
Green Bay won’t enter the season as one of the favorites in the NFC, unlike almost every year with Rodgers, which presents a change of pace for not only the franchise but the fanbase too. Things could certainly fail to come together, and we may look back at this offseason differently.
But in a month where not much news will come out of Lambeau Field, the excitement and the potential of what may be will give plenty of Cheeseheads hope until the regular season gets underway.