Rob DemowskiESPN staff writer4 minutes of reading
However, that certainty did not come through the fifth-year option of his new contract, which would have given him a guaranteed $20.272 million through 2024, after making $2,298,655 in 2023, his first season in the starting lineup.
Instead, the two sides on Tuesday agreed to a one-year contract extension worth $22.5 million (including $13.5 million fully guaranteed), a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The deal was reached just hours before the fifth-year option deadline on Tuesday.
Asked if there was a reason the Packers didn’t pick up the option year on Saturday after the draft ended, general manager Brian Gudkunst said: “It’s a lot of money for a guy who hasn’t played, but at the same time, obviously we’re moving forward with him. So we’ll find out by Tuesday.”
If they denied it outright and didn’t like what they saw from Love in the 2023 season, the Packers would have left. If so, they could have tried to work out a contract extension during the season or shortly after. Failing that, they have the option of using the franchise tag, but that would be much more expensive than the fifth-year option price.
The New York Giants were in a similar position last season, with 2019 first-round pick Daniel Jones at quarterback. They didn’t pick up the option and chose to let their quarterback play out the final season of his rookie contract. Then in March, they signed him to a four-year, $160 million contract just hours before the deadline to exercise the franchise tag.
One big difference is that Jones had 37 games of starting experience over his first three seasons by the time the Giants had to call up the option in May 2022.
Love has just one career start — a 13-7 loss at Kansas City in the 2021 season — and played only one meaningful snap last season, a Packers loss at Philadelphia in late November.
The Packers have only about $12 million in salary-cap space this offseason, and most of that will be needed to sign their 13-player draft class. That was before they agreed to an extension on Love and a renegotiated deal with safety Darnell Savage on Tuesday.
Aaron Rodgers has $40,313,570 in dead money from his contract this season.
They received an additional $5.46 million from Savage’s contract. He has a fifth-year option worth $7.9 million. The Packers turned $6.82 million of that (including a $4 million signing bonus) into proratable cap money and added effective years from 2024 through ’27. However, they added a roster bonus in void years that would allow them to sign an extension with Savage before free agency next March. With them, the league’s rule against extending renegotiation contracts doesn’t apply.
The Packers plan to make Savage a bigger part of their defense this year after his role fluctuated last season.
Savage’s rehab was agreed to over the weekend and he rejoined the Packers for their offseason program on Monday.
“Darnell returned to Green Bay this offseason to work with the coaches and teammates to help lead the defense and build on the success they had as a unit late last season,” Savage’s agent, Seth Katz, told ESPN.