Should the Packers trade for a starting caliber QB?
By: Josh Shippen
The Packers are going through a very tenuous situation with Aaron Rodgers at the moment. Rodgers has threatened to go so far as to retire if he is forced to play for Green Bay in the 2021 season. With this in mind, the downgrade from Aaron Rodgers to Jordan Love will be extremely severe, and possibly deadly for the Packers 2021 season. Jordan Love will definitely need an experienced veteran next to him, and the number 1 and 2 overall pick from 2015 are 2 very viable options. So without further ado, let’s go over each.
Marcus Mariota was the 2nd overall pick of 2015 and was selected by the Tennessee Titans. Mariota was the starter from 2015 to 2019 and posted some very promising 9-7 seasons, some of which resulted in semi-convincing playoff berths. Overall he is an effective quarterback, but in 2019 Ryan Tannehill took over for an ineffective Mariota and immediately started to set the world on fire with his amazing play. After this Mariota got seemingly downgraded to eternal backup, his first stop being behind Derek Carr in Las Vegas.
Mariota’s short career has, as aforementioned, been promising. Mariota has posted a 3,000-yard season with a 26-9 TD-INT ratio. While this is by no means anything that makes fans’ eyes pop out of their sockets, it’s a perfectly respectable stat line for a player who has been quarterbacking a mostly boring team for 4 seasons. Mariota also has talent with his legs; he is by no means a Lamar Jackson or a Deshaun Watson, but again his rough average of about 300 rushing yards per season and 2 touchdowns is perfectly respectable. Nothing about this necessitation of Mariota’s career highlights makes me particularly excited to see him in a Green Bay uniform, but he could be a perfectly effective staple until the Packers develop Jordan Love or get a new quarterback via the draft, a trade, or free agency.
The first overall pick is much more of an interesting story, Winston has been compared to Big Ben in some respects and seeing that he has a 5,000 yard passing season under his belt I think the comparison can be considered as somewhat valid. However Winston has definite flaws, his 5,000 yard campaign made him the first member of the 30’s club, that is to say Winston passed for 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. The touchdowns are perfectly fine but the interception issues are completely inexcusable. The question at hand is whether Winston can be improved over time. I believe of course that anything is possible, after all the NFL is extremely unpredictable, but if Bruce Arians can’t find a way to fix him I’m not sold that Matt LaFluer can.
Winston has spent his past six seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he was drafted first overall, and the New Orleans Saints serving as a backup to Drew Brees, and now Taysom Hill. The fact that Winston cannot be named as the definitive starter over an undrafted, unproven quarterback is definitely a red flag for me, but I believe that Winston’s upside far eclipses Mariota’s upside. The stock would be low if this move were made, but I believe that this trade could theoretically happen if everything fell wrong with Rodgers.