Love, Tua & Lawrence: Who Signs First?

They wait for one of them to set the market.

Brian Gutekunst said recently that both the Packers and Jordan Love would like to get a contract extension worked out by the start of training camp in late July.   It’s a good bet the deal has already been pretty much completed.  All that remains is to fill in the money figure.  

And it may take longer than expected for that to be agreed upon.  That’s because there are two other starting quarterbacks who are in a very similar situation.  Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence are both entering the final year of their current deals, just like Love.  The Packers, Dolphins and Jaguars all want to wait for one of the other two to sign.   The minute one of them does, it will set the standard for the other two. 

None of those three teams wants the standard to be measured against the extension recently given to the Lions’ Jared Goff.  The veteran signal caller just received an extension worth $53 million on average per season.  Goff has taken teams to the Super Bowl and to the NFC championship game.  Love, Tua and Lawrence do not have a track record of that kind of success.  But the way NFL salaries inflate these days, track records don’t seem to matter. 

The players, on the other hand, clearly intend to use the Goff numbers as a reference point.  Tagovailoa recently told reporters “I’ll tell you one thing, the market is the market.  If we didn’t have a market, then none of that would matter.”   Tua indicated his frustration with the negotiations by deciding not to participate in 11-on-11 drills at mandatory mini camp this week.  “Well, I think there’s been a lot of progress at this point,” Tagovailoa told Pro Football Talk.   “From where we started, there’s been a lot of progress. Now, you can ask the other question — then why aren’t we seeing an agreement? Well, that’s the tough part about it. That’s why it’s business.” 

Translation:  The Goff deal reset the market. 

Of the three teams, the Jaguars are in the best position to wait out the other two.  While Love and Tua enter their final contract seasons, Lawrence still has a year to go on his rookie deal, and the Jags have picked up the fifth year option on their former overall number one draft pick.   So, while they are negotiating a new contract, they know time is on their side.   At worst, they have their quarterback locked up for at least two more seasons on the cheap.  For his part, Lawrence doesn’t seem concerned about it.  “That’s why I pay people and hire people to do that for me. That’s not my job. You know, obviously, I know what’s going on. I’m aware of the situation. I think that’s important, too, but I try to keep all my focus and energy on being the best player I can be to help us win,” Lawrence told reporters at OTAs, in which he is participating. 

To this point, Jordan Love has taken a similar approach.  While preferring not to say anything about contract talks, Love has been a full participant and leader in all offseason practices.  "That's just something that I've always done, trying to be here, get the reps in, get the work in with the guys and just start building that chemistry and getting ready for the season," Love said at Packers OTAs. "I think that's always a part of it. Just showing up and the other guys will follow too. It's a testament to everybody wanting to be here, wanting to get that work in." 

Doesn’t sound like a guy who intends to be a holdout problem.  But make no mistake, Love wants to get paid.  He waited patiently without complaint behind Aaron Rodgers for three years.  He showed he can be a franchise quarterback when given the chance.  No doubt he and his agent want market value.  The question is, what is the market value? 

Will Love and the Packers be content to wait until either Lawrence or Tagovailoa set the mark?  Or will they go ahead and set the mark themselves?  One of those three teams will have to blink first.  When they do, the other two deals will get done quickly.   That may or may not happen before the start of training camp.    

 

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Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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Comments (30)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
mnbadger's picture

June 07, 2024 at 12:46 pm

Ken, a great article up to the point that you stated " . . . waited patiently without complaint behind Aaron Rodgers for three years."
To be clear, he got paid first round $, got expert tutelage and mentoring without any pressure to perform.
He got paid well to do his job better in the future. He showed great improvement over a span of more than half a season.
Just because we all understand market economics, doesn't mean we have to celebrate it.
When Russia went into Ukraine it disrupted the steel industry. Prices on everything from buildings to appliances to cars escalated.
I understand it, but I do not celebrate it.
I will not celebrate paying 20% of the salary cap to one player.
I'm happy for Jordan Love, but don't think he's earned top level qb money. $30 to $40 million for 8 years with half gauranteed is where I see him in the current market.
Win more games, playoff games and compete for a super bowl for a string of years. Then I see him having more bargaining power.
Just because you're the next QB up, doesn't mean you should make more than the last qb signed, IMO. that makes no sense in any market.
GPG!

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MainePackFan's picture

June 07, 2024 at 02:19 pm

Well said.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

June 07, 2024 at 04:25 pm

Dude, doesn't matter what we think. The market is the market. What Love does is very rare and somebody will pay for it. I'd rather it be GB, than have him hold out and play to hit free agency next year. Nobody is talking about celebrating the cost of QBs right now, but yes, when you're the next man up and you show you can do the job really well, you get paid more than the last guy signed. Particularly since Love has a much higher ceiling than Goff.

I hope he signs for less than Goff, but I sincerely doubt he will. It's the way of the NFL. You pay the talent or you love for somebody else to do the job. And that's proven to be a tough thing to do, given the number of first round QBs that never get a second contract with the team that drafted them.

For some reason GB fans are stuck on what players get paid even though we're not the ones paying. Everybody loves Love when he's on a rookie or cheaper deal. I'm watching to see the hate come on with a big contract. His "honeymoon" with the fans is then over.

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ricky's picture

June 07, 2024 at 04:56 pm

No one is asking anyone to "celebrate" giving big bucks to the QB. But it is the way of the NFL right now. Like it or not, the market has been reset by Burrow in Cincy, and now Goff in Detroit. Justin Jefferson just reset the bar for WR's. I think it's crazy, but since the bar is there, others will be seeing this as the starting point for their negotiations (Lamb in Dallas, Chase in Cincy). Left tackles used to get decent money. Now, they're considered crucial to success, as they protect the QB's "blind side". So they get paid a lot more. As the salary cap goes up, there will be more money. Not surprisingly, the players will want their share. If you really believe that Love would take $30-$40 million per year, for EIGHT YEARS, you are living in an alternate reality. Besides, how the contract is structured makes a huge difference. Either the Packers pay, or Love goes elsewhere, and the team joins the other dozen or so teams who are desperate for a QB of his caliber.

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mnbadger's picture

June 09, 2024 at 02:00 pm

all the "bar setters" have performed at or near the top of the league for multiple years.
jlo10 has done it for about 8 games is all I'm saying.
Daniel Jones II ismy fear.
There's got to be a way to write a contract for a young qb like Love where he's got a base salary in the mid 20's for an additional year or two with heavy incentives.
Years 3-4 5 can be in the 40 to 55 range scaling up each year.
Year 4 can start a two year window where either party can opt out.
Let's be creative.
I'd love to see him play so well that he earns all of it.
This cheesehead isn't ready to give it to him just yet.
GPG!

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tonyorth's picture

June 07, 2024 at 01:25 pm

The market is indeed the market and Jordan Love showed last year that he is The Dude. Sure, his first half season as starter was full of growing pains but while he was growing so was basically his entire receiving corps. And, once everyone knew where he was supposed to be and when he was supposes to be there, we all saw his second half of a season as starter: terrific production accompanied by selfless leadership.

An argument can me made (and has been) that JL's ability to find the open man rather than fixating on a #1 WR could actually SAVE money by avoiding a Justin Jefferson payday for that #1 WR.

Pay Dude now or regret it later.

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MainePackFan's picture

June 07, 2024 at 02:53 pm

" And, once everyone knew where he was supposed to be and when he was supposes to be there"

Jordan was just as responsible for the team's first half failures as any of his surrounding cast. Once he started getting the ball out quick instead of dancing around in the pocket looking for the home run, the offense took off. In turn, Love earned Lafleur's trust, and he opened up the playbook.

Jordan had a good run the second half, and he will get paid, but a good run for 8 or 9 games shouldn't get him elite QB pay (yet). That's the hold up if his agent is looking for 50 or 60M a year.

Jordan will get the money he deserves, there's just a differing opinion on what he deserves ;)

Remember, Danny Dimes had a pretty good run too.

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Bitternotsour's picture

June 07, 2024 at 04:26 pm

I remember Tommy DeVito ravaging the Cowboys in the playoffs. That was amazing.

Oops, comparison fail.

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MainePackFan's picture

June 07, 2024 at 06:58 pm

What does that have to do with whether the Packers should pay Jordan Love elite QB money?

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LLCHESTY's picture

June 07, 2024 at 09:21 pm

"Remember, Danny Dimes had a pretty good run too."

Actually he didn't, unless you call 3200 yards, 15 TDs and 5 Ints pretty good. I'd call 4150 yards, 32 TDs and 11 Ints is pretty, pretty good. IMO Jordan Love is

https://youtu.be/kRz8-EXlhBo?si=At3vxCseZyOdcBFK

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Untylu1968's picture

June 08, 2024 at 06:39 am

The only opinion that matters on how much he gets or deserves belongs to the Packers organization. If they're correct in their assessment, great! If not, it'll make the piss and moan crew happy and give them something legit to bitch about.

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Minniman's picture

June 07, 2024 at 02:54 pm

I too like that Love is using ALL of his weapons - and is results focused (rather than stats focused). That said, there were some GREAT catches made by those young guys this year (and some of them saved an errant throw by Love)........ make no mistake, this crew has better hands, and potential, than MVS.

To your point, in this current QB "salary arms race", a key metric is going to be how well QB's can use all their players (and keep a lid on any WR's becoming a diva). As the first poster said, there's 20% of the cap tied up in one player - they HAVE to "find their fee" by making lesser skill position players better (namely WR's, TE's and RB's) and enabling the team to play "moneyball" with these positions.

I may be getting ahead of myself here, but when - I don't think it's an if - Love gets paid, I'd prefer to see Gute trade one or 2 of this crop of WR's in 2 seasons time...... I don't think he's going to have the cap to retain them, the TE's and RB's, and I think that they are going to be too good to keep on average salaries......... It's a nice problem to have! However, I'd prefer to see better value than compensatory picks extracted from what is going to be an inevitable situation.

Side Note: if you go back and look at all of Rodgers' contracts, the Packers were fair-to-generous on all of them - with a couple placing him as the highest paid player (at that time).

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pantz_bURp's picture

June 07, 2024 at 03:55 pm

Who signs first between Love, Tua & Lawrence?

Whomever loses their hearing first, I guess...

Love and stuff,
Pantz

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tonyorth's picture

June 07, 2024 at 04:04 pm

I find it puzzling that many people seem fine paying AR HIS $$, despite a big decline in production AND a demonstrated tendency to choke in the playoffs, but are against paying JL now for the same performance and superior upside. Their arugment? "Let's wait". AR's final stats and JL's for recent full seaons are virtually identical. If we were willing to pay AR why the reluctance to pay JL for the same performance? Who has more upside, Rodgers or Love? QB1's get paid - that is today's reality.

And what could possibly be gained by waiting? The only scenario where waiting might make sense is if he craters, but the counteraegument is that he didn't perform like he did in the second half of the season by random chance, but by learning and growing - that upside I mentioned. Winning now or soon with the cheap but talented team we have requires a QB1 who can deliver now, not in two or three years when either backup would be ready. And, assuming we wait and he balls pit would JL's contract out get cheaper ? No it would not. Worse for the 'waiters'? He is merely 'meh' but for reasons beyond his control, doesn't bite on a cheap offer, and flees to the Vikings.

Yes $55-60M per year is big money but it wasn't that long ago when we were aghast at the idea of spending $20M per year for a good QB1 and we can either pay JL now or watch him walk. I'll bet the Jets will be looking for a new QB1 right around that time.

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NFLfan's picture

June 07, 2024 at 04:14 pm

AR was an established vet coming off his 4th MVP & having just completed 17 years-Love has had 8 good games? We have lost touch with reality paying mediocre and 2nd year QB's $ 50 M/yr-Watson, Goff, Cousins & co are not worth more than 35M. Watson is a bust, Goff and Cousins are 7's on a scale of 1-10, Burrow was out after his windfall, Hurts? Love is worth $35-40 @ this time based on his 8 game body of work.
QB and now WR pay is too high and weakening teams-

AR finally figured out that he had to take a cut so the team could pay others--what a concept.

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Bitternotsour's picture

June 07, 2024 at 04:31 pm

I guess when people start buying jerseys with your name and number on them, when it's your picture on the hype spot on the prime time Sunday/Monday/Thursday game, yours, your agent and your employers sense of what your worth is might be affected.

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NFLfan's picture

June 07, 2024 at 06:26 pm

@BN-Still having difficulty if I express an opinion? No need to make things personal.
I give you a wide berth and I would appreciate the same. There-it's fixed.

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Bitternotsour's picture

June 08, 2024 at 09:12 am

This is sort of how it works, you get to post something, and if people find they have a different opinion, they can post a comment about it. It's the nature of a comment board. A kind of internet based discussion if you will. You and I think differently, that's fine. Not exactly sure how I made it personal to you, other than posting a contrary opinion, but often intent and landing are different.

I don't require a wide berth, so please feel free to interact however you wish.

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jont's picture

June 08, 2024 at 11:20 am

"I guess when people start buying jerseys with your name and number on them, when it's your picture on...."

"Not exactly sure how I made it personal to you,..."

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Bitternotsour's picture

June 08, 2024 at 11:30 am

"your name" referenced Love and NFL players in general, but I see how that might have been ambiguous if it wasn't read in the context of the entire paragraph (with its subsequent reference to an agent and representatives of the club).

again, intent v. landing

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Bitternotsour's picture

June 08, 2024 at 11:33 am

in my previous employment I would have been called out for a micro-aggression by the twenty somethings. no harm intended.

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jont's picture

June 09, 2024 at 09:14 am

Emails, posts, and such can come off as abrupt. There have been times, even after I show Herculean restraint and don't type "go F yourself", that I've had messages taken in the wrong way. And you're right-- the internet is a place where this happen a lot so I take care when I write stuff.

I like CHTV's generally collegial tone.

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stockholder's picture

June 07, 2024 at 08:29 pm

I have trouble paying Love Big Bucks.
If Gute wants to start drafting QBs.
What aren't we seeing?
Love was the answer.
Could they really believe he isn't?
Or is this the way Gute wants to push him?
He won't be easy to trade if his contract is
too big.
But the tar and feathers will be ready,
if he doesn't get this team to the SB.

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Oppy's picture

June 08, 2024 at 11:56 am

You don't understand the value of drafting and developing QB's even if you're set at the position?

Were you asleep during the entirety of the Ron Wolf era?

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tonyorth's picture

June 09, 2024 at 05:07 pm

Jordan Love, from Week 11 on...despite being blitzed at the #1 highest rate in the NFL...on an incredible 41% of dropbacks!

He ranked...

#1 in total TDs (20)
#1 in total passing yards (2,150)
#1 in EPA/att (+0.26)
#1 in lowest sack + INT rate (4.1%)
#1 in TD:INT ratio

But I suppose this COULD be just random chance, right? Maybe you'd rather have Rodgers back, Stockholder?

1 points
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barutanseijin's picture

June 08, 2024 at 06:12 am

Whatever.

These three will look like a bargain after next year’s quarterback contract negotiations.

3 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

June 08, 2024 at 09:20 am

The right K for Love (the seller) and the Packers (the buyer) is where and when the two agree.

Just an educated guess, but I would believe the negotiations with Love's Team are probably more win win vs the two "salary capitulation/cap monster creations" with Rodgers' negotiators.

Humility vs arrogance. Compensation for future performance vs getting paid for past results. Long term view vs short term recognition.

The Packers and Love's team are negotiating what the QBs value and upside will be after the K is signed. Looking for a win win contract solution. I would expect future expectations will earn a huge signing bonus, but also attractive incentives.

The Packers and Rodgers' team were negotiating about "respect" for the past results, MVPs, soothing feelings and preventing discord. It felt like a win lose...Rodgers twice won the "respect me" K's, Packers lost both with Cap Hades, no real improvement in performance. No big playoff wins, SB games or wins. No real change in alleviating discord between the highly paid QB and his team...probably infected the locker room more than a bit too.

My sense is Love's contract framework is mostly built...now just finding agreement on the cash flows. More peaceful talks (as in absence of anxiety). Love knows he is a good QB...but his humility prevents him telling you why he is...& even worse, demanding that you agree. He seems very content to "talk" on the field.

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PackerBackerAZ's picture

June 08, 2024 at 01:16 pm

The "market value" should be based solely on play, not another player's contract. When Mahomes signed in 2020 he reset the market. He is on a 10 year deal and will be far underpaid for the rest of that contract. Love needs to show, this season, that the last half of 2023 was the standard, not an aberration, before signing a huge contract. I'm all in with letting Love do his negotiating on the field. I don't see a win win if players are waiting for the market to reset with another players contract. How does that help the team? With the rookie wage scale, what could Love do other than wait patiently behind Rodgers?

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vin0770's picture

June 09, 2024 at 04:11 pm

They will get it done but it will be very interesting what it looks like. 9 incredible games last year but they did play 17. So how about a progressive contract with the first year starting with a 4x and incentives to get him in the 5x with a great year. Next year is the in the small 5x and grows every year for five years.

I need just a little more this year maybe like the first quarter of the season and then he’s totally whatever the market is if he’s the stud that finished last year 👍🏼

1 points
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mnbadger's picture

June 12, 2024 at 05:09 pm

my point exactly but I'm starting first 2 years with incentive laden salary in low 30's reaching 40 if all are met.
Balloon salaries start in year 3 with each side having an opt-out or opt-in option in year 4.
Get Pratt ready just in case.
GPG!

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