Jordan Love To Patriots? Evaluating Sketchy Hypothetical NFL Draft Trade

Did a random social media photo leak a potential Patriots-Packers trade?

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The Patriots need a quarterback and the 2021 NFL Draft features several top-level QB prospects projected to go early in the first round.

The result has been a perfect storm of internet speculation, with everyone and their grandparents trying to crawl inside Bill Belichick’s mind — an unpredictable piece of real estate — to figure out what New England will do next week.

Trade up? Trade down? Stand pat?

Everything seemingly is on the table for the Patriots, including bypassing the quarterback position altogether in wake of re-signing Cam Newton to a one-year contract before NFL free agency.

As such, we’re willing to entertain even the craziest of ideas — like, for instance, the random hypothetical trade that surfaced this week involving Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love and the exchange of draft picks.

It all began, we think, with a tweet from @gillettenation pointing out a piece of paper rumored to be from a Green Bay office. The sheet notes a possible trade in which the Packers would send Love, the 29th overall pick and a fourth-rounder (142nd overall) to the Patriots for the 15th overall pick.

Again, this whole thing could be baseless. Staged, even. But why let that stop us from exploring a fascinating theoretical proposal one week out from the draft? After all, such a trade would have far-reaching, transformative ramifications.

Unfortunately (if you’re into draft-day chaos), this (likely fake) deal doesn’t pass the smell test, especially from a New England perspective. Why would the Patriots trade down 14 spots for a quarterback they very easily could have drafted last year?

The Patriots, as you might recall, traded out of the first round in 2020, flipping the 23rd overall pick to the Los Angeles Chargers for a second-rounder (No. 37) and a third-rounder (No. 71). The Packers then traded the 30th pick and a fourth-rounder (No. 136) to the Miami Dolphins to move up to No. 26, where they selected Love out of Utah State.

Now, one could argue the Patriots weren’t yet cognizant last April of how dire their quarterback situation would be in wake of Tom Brady’s departure. (They agreed to a deal with Newton last June.) Or that they expected Love to still be around at No. 37, a selection New England used on Division II safety Kyle Dugger.

But that seems unlikely. And if we assume the Patriots weren’t all that high on Love last year, why would they suddenly view him as their quarterback of the future this year? It’s not like Love lit the league on fire in Green Bay. He didn’t play a single snap as Aaron Rodgers put together an MVP season for the Packers, and he therefore remains very much a project.

Love, who turns 23 in November, someday might be a legitimate NFL quarterback. Who knows. The idea of acquiring him now — after a season in a different system and with one less year remaining on his rookie contract — just seems odd, especially when the Patriots instead could use their draft capital to trade up for a higher-potential quarterback next week or stand pat and possibly land an impact player at a different position who falls down the board thanks in large to an early run on QBs.

From Green Bay’s perspective, trading away Love essentially would be admitting defeat, albeit with the benefit of jumping up into the middle of the first round and putting a really nice piece around a reinvigorated Rodgers.

Of course, the Packers probably still would shy away from giving him another offensive playmaker. And, realistically speaking, we probably shouldn’t completely rule out some regression from Rodgers over the next couple of seasons, in which case Green Bay actually might be better off staying the course and developing Love to eventually take the reins.

Welcome to NFL draft rumor season, when someone random snapping a random pic of random papers on a random desk can send you down a rabbit hole.

Thumbnail photo via Dan Powers/Appleton Post-Crescent/USA TODAY NETWORK Images

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