Gutekunst: 'Overhyped' QB succession plan not in Packers' plans

Two first-rounders and a class loaded at positions of need? It's the perfect opportunity for the Packers to stay far and away from selecting a quarterback with one of those picks later this week.

-- There could be a new quarterback in Green Bay this summer, but don't expect him to come from one of the Packers' two first-round picks.

Seriously, don't.

The merry-go-round of linking the Packers to one of this draft class' top quarterback prospects -- specifically Missouri's Drew Lock -- is entirely overblown, according to general manager Brian Gutekunst.

"I think the whole succession plan thing, I think is a little bit overhyped or whatever," Gutekunst said on Monday during his annual pre-draft presser. Lock was the only quarterback the Packers had a visit with ahead of this week's draft.

The Packers not only have the opportunity to land two impactful, starting-caliber players for 2019 and beyond, but they have the opportunity to do so with two first-round picks; a rarity for a team entering the final leg of their Hall of Fame quarterback's career.

Aaron Rodgers isn't going anywhere anytime soon. He inked his record-breaking contract extension last summer and is with the team through at least 2021, with a potential out for the team following that season.

Under the new rules of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the Packers wouldn't be able to get away with letting a newly-drafted quarterback prospect ride the bench for three seasons the way Rodgers did behind Brett Favre. The Packers would need to keep in mind the money that would be spent on a rookie while still investing heavily in maximizing the final years of Rodgers' career.

Essentially, they'd be paying their first-round quarterback to ride the bench and, hopefully, never play. Meanwhile, the entirety of his rookie contract runs its course while Rodgers plays out his own deal. Rodgers' contract -- disregarding the potential out that won't even be entertained if Rodgers' play continues to be head and shoulders above the competition -- runs through 2023.

"I think every year, we spent a lot of time on quarterbacks and try to figure out what kind of players those guys are going to be in the NFL," Gutekunst said. "I think it's really, really important to us because if you don't have one it's really tough to win in this league. So, you know, for us it's just about each and every year trying to decide which of the guys that could potentially be starters in this league and difference maker-type players.

"And then if you ever have an opportunity to take them sometime in the draft and it's the best thing for your team, I don't think you can hesitate with that, you know?"

Rodgers has been stricken with injury in his last two seasons. He broke the collarbone in his throwing shoulder in 2017 and suffered a tibial plateau fracture along with a sprained MCL in his knee in 2018. He sustained the third reported concussion of his career in the Packers' season finale.

The Packers have historically been a team to operate on a best-player-available basis, and that should still apply. However, that ideology should only exist within reason.

Favre was entering his age 36 season when the Packers drafted Rodgers in 2005, but Favre had not only constantly flirted with retirement, but his body was paying the price through the years. Favre fought through injury after injury and played through various forms of ailments en route to starting every single game while with the team, whereas Rodgers -- who has over 40 fewer games played than Favre at this point in his career -- may not have as much wear and tear.

While there is a sensible argument to be had for taking a quarterback with one of the two first-round picks, this certainly wouldn't be the class to pull the trigger on such a controversial move. Five quarterbacks went in last year's opening round and it has since been regarded as one of the more talented classes at that position in recent memory.

This year's crop isn't that.

Between Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins and Lock, rankings can be formulated either way, but Murray is believed to be the best of the bunch. There are likely going to be teams that reach for a quarterback, including the Washington Redskins at No. 15 and the New York Giants at No. 17, who the Packers could engage in trade discussions with for the No. 12 selection.

Gutekunst has all the leverage he needs, but that leverage could result in capital best invested elsewhere -- not in a quarterback while the Packers sport one of the league's most talented passers in Rodgers and a developmental backup in DeShone Kizer.

"We're lucky to have the best player in the NFL playing that position right now. But at the same time, just like I was talking about before, your needs can change just like that. ... There's always questions, specifically with those guys, maybe that are a little more thorough and more in-depth that you've got to get to the bottom of and so we were trying to do that."

The time will come to land Rodgers' successor, and so will the right class. 2019 just isn't it.

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (51)

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

April 23, 2019 at 02:30 pm

Man, I wish they'd just bring in a veteran backup. I don't want Kizer or some rookie blowing the playoff chances if Rodgers is out for 3 weeks.

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ricky's picture

April 23, 2019 at 04:55 pm

Excellent idea. Who would you suggest? Seriously, the pickings for veteran QB's is very, very slim. Tannehill? Bortles? Those guys might be available for the right money. Cutler is still around. Google the available QB's, and you'll see the reality of the situation.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

April 23, 2019 at 05:19 pm

I didn't know a lot about Peterson when he arrived. Maybe there is not a slam dunk this season, but I expect every few years there is someone suitable available.

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Rak47's picture

April 24, 2019 at 04:55 am

Bring in FITZMAGIC!

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Old School's picture

April 23, 2019 at 07:40 pm

I'm certain this article is 100% true and having it come out right before the draft is just coincidental.

There is no subterfuge. Think about something else.

As far as vets, go to Spotrac.com and look at the available free agent QBs. Ugh. Brock Osweiler, anybody?

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 23, 2019 at 08:29 pm

They were a year too late to pull in a backup veteran, Simien was there last year as a fill in but the queens jumped in and made the deal with Elway. This year they went for Mullen from McVay's system. The queens always feel more comfortable with veterans as backups. Less of a learning curve, No for-loss, QB University scams and undeveloped guys who show nothing after three years in the system. They were stuck with Mccarthy last year and he wanted DaMarious
out of the coop. Kizer is now Gutekunst's burden.

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leche's picture

April 23, 2019 at 02:34 pm

Good! The QB class is pretty weak after Murray and Haskins anyway. This is a 2021 problem

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Turophile's picture

April 23, 2019 at 02:53 pm

yep, and the one QB they brought in (Lock) is inaccurate, which is not only a killer for NFL QBs on it's own, but QBs with this problem don't become accurate after they are drafted.

In that regard, you are what you are, and practicing and being taught NFL fundamentals just don't seem to help QBs with this problem.

I'm don't think Lock reads defenses all that well either, so he is a no-no for me, pretty much at any draft spot.

As for 2021, well, ageing QBs suggest the Saints, Pats, Steelers and Giants will all be hunting hard for QBs if they do not address it this year, that is in addition to teams that don't have decent QBs at the moment.

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Old School's picture

April 23, 2019 at 03:55 pm

Turophile…..I'm not sure where this "inaccurate" and "doesn't...read defenses " stuff comes from.

For the record: He completed nearly 63% of his passes last year in the toughest conference in college football, the SEC. He's got a freakin' howitzer. His TD/INT ratio last year was 28:8. In the SEC.

Big. Good athlete. Smart enough. Put him on the team and help him grow. I totally believe that you can win with this guy if you can run the ball, play defense, and protect the QB.

I reject the whole "even though Favre and Rodgers were about the same age stuff"...…..Favre is the Iron Man of Football. Rodgers is not. If he gets injured again this year and misses time, it'd be damn nice to have somebody who might help us win playing behind him.

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Samson's picture

April 23, 2019 at 06:16 pm

You need to do a little more research. -- Don't stop with just what you would like to know. -- Get the entire story --- for once.

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Old School's picture

April 23, 2019 at 07:42 pm

So what is the entire story, Samson? What additional research should I have done? Please enlighten me. I stand by everything I said; what am I wrong about here?

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 23, 2019 at 08:33 pm

Turbo, They claim Missouri runs a one read offense like Murray and a lot of
spread teams. Grier would be a guy to look at fitting a WCO, but he looks to go in the second rd. Packers have more to worry about in the early rounds like getting people in to protect the franchise and guys that take the ball away from the opposition.

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Old School's picture

April 23, 2019 at 03:47 pm

It's a 2021 problem unless Rodgers gets injured in the opener. Then it's a 2019 problem.

The success of Baker Mayfield last year, and some others, has propelled Murray to the top of the list. But behind him are 3 other guys that could certainly become franchise-caliber QBs and who will probably be taken in the first round : Lock Jones Haskins any order you want.

Any of these guys would immediately upgrade the backup QB position. They're guys who might well be able to move the ball and score points, and improve in areas so that they could eventually be a good starter in the NFL.

So I think that after our 22 starters, and our 3 specialists, the backup QB is the most important reserve on the 46 man gameday roster. More than a backup tackle, or a 2nd TE, or a 4th WR, etc. If you've got a guy you can win with at backup, that's an advantage over the course of a season.

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Lare's picture

April 23, 2019 at 05:28 pm

I think the point is you can look at everything negatively or you can look at everything positively. If you're looking at everything negatively then your key players are going to get hurt so you better have competent backups at every key position. Or, if you're looking at things positively you're going to stay relatively healthy at key positions so you can afford to address other major holes in your roster on your way to a winning season.

It's all in how you look at life. The best team doesn't always win in the playoffs or the Super Bowl, sometimes it's the healthiest. And luck plays a big part in that.

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Samson's picture

April 23, 2019 at 06:19 pm

It's always dark in some peoples' world. -- Some people live a full life & still don't get it.

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Old School's picture

April 23, 2019 at 07:44 pm

Just like Jack Reacher, I think it's wise to hope for the best and plan for the worst. Is the draft about hoping or planning?

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Jonathan Spader's picture

April 23, 2019 at 09:20 pm

Q: "Is the draft about hoping or planning?"

A: BOTH

Plan for who you take, hope they fall to you, hope they work out for you.

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Old School's picture

April 23, 2019 at 07:47 pm

I also think it's nuts to think you know anything about somebody else's world. But then again, I think lots of things are nuts.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 23, 2019 at 08:36 pm

Night balances day. What's the difference? Its reality. I never trust either end of the spectrum.

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Lare's picture

April 23, 2019 at 05:26 pm

Not sure why there is a duplicate post

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Lare's picture

April 23, 2019 at 05:27 pm

Not sure why there is a triplicate post.

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jsb937's picture

April 23, 2019 at 03:46 pm

Gardner Minshew is the steal of the draft. He will be the Tom Brady of 2019.
Wonderlick 42
hand size 10 1/8 (larger than anyone at combine)
225 lbs
6 ' 2"
Lead the nation in passing.
Big mistake to pass him up.

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Old School's picture

April 23, 2019 at 03:58 pm

Thanks for the heads up on that guy!!

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albert999's picture

April 23, 2019 at 04:05 pm

Couldn’t agree more
LOVE GARDNER MINSHEW and i agree he will be the steal of the draft
Where do u think he will go and do yo think the Packers are even looking at him?

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dobber's picture

April 24, 2019 at 07:59 am

Shorter, noodle-armed, QB who lacks athleticism and was propped up by a QB-friendly system. Smart guy with accuracy and touch, and good leadership traits, though. Ceiling likely as a #2. He'll likely be available on day 3, which might play right to what the Packers want at this point.

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Bure9620's picture

April 23, 2019 at 06:49 pm

Interesting prospect, but the Passing are yards are misleading, lots of attempts and moderate ypc in the air raid scheme. Mike Leach will have his QB throw until his arm falls off. Not as high on him as others, maybe a priority FA, though I would draft his mustache in the first round .

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 23, 2019 at 08:40 pm

Leach is a genius with the Air Raid. His guys play exclusive shotgun so he would need to play under center a bit. Andy Reid, on the other hand, says hell, let him play what he knows and turned his 2nd year guy into the MVP.
Flex your head.

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Spock's picture

April 24, 2019 at 08:47 am

Speaking of the "Leaked" Wonderlick scores on the QB's in the upcoming draft it was "credited" in the story giving all the scores for the draft QB's that BOB McGINN was the Wonderlick leak source. I'd lost all respect for McGinn (IMHO he USED to be an excellent reporter) years ago but this is a new low. IMO he's living off his past reputation and now trying to get clicks on his pay-for website. He's definitely not someone I'd follow. Others disagree, but I find him a polarizing reporter. Tyler Dunne and McGinn. What's up with all this yellow journalism? McGinn's "contribution" might not be "fake news" but IMO it's pretty unethical to possibly affect a young man's draft status/life for a few $$ clicks on your website. Shameful.

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Old School's picture

April 24, 2019 at 10:11 am

Well, McGinn was a guy with a LOT of very well-connected sources as regards the NFL and the Packers. So yeah, he had a point of view you could agree with or not but you couldn't say he didn't know what he was talking about.

Ethics and journalism parted company down the path a while ago. That's just a sad fact. I think that presenting alternative points of view shouldn't be called polarizing without providing some explanation.

For me, the low with McGinn was after a game where a Favre playground stunt cost us a game against the Bengals, he described the game as Favre being surrounded by "stumblebums". The high was reading his contributions after the Faux Retirement of March 4.

You have to consider the source and take everything with a big grain of salt. It's the internet, and people can say pretty much what they want, even if they are Bob McGinn.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 25, 2019 at 12:28 am

Teams have access to the players' wonderlic scores, and teams decide when to draft those players, so I don't think McGinn's release of that information should have much, and probably almost no, effect on when the players are drafted. It makes the public better informed.

IDK, perhaps wonderlic scores should be confidential, like medical information, except of course in the NFL, basic medical information about players is released all the time. IDK.

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Mojo's picture

April 23, 2019 at 05:57 pm

Not sure why Gute would refute the QB succession plan as "overhyped".

From a draft strategy standpoint you want QB needy teams behind you to entertain the idea GB might take your guy and need to trade-up to 12. Gives Gute some trade-down leverage.

Doesn't make sense for Gute to declare anything, unless he wants to lull teams behind us into thinking GB's out of the market and they don't need to move ahead of the Packers for their QB. And then at 12 Gute shocks the world and picks ......

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IceBowl's picture

April 23, 2019 at 06:51 pm

Subterfuge!

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Old School's picture

April 23, 2019 at 07:45 pm

There is no subterfuge. Think about something else.

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Swedish Chef's picture

April 23, 2019 at 07:38 pm

Vesting a heegh drefft picks oun a QB is a fuol's irruond fur zee-a Peckers. GEEfe-a Ierun Rudgers is muony veepuns is yuou cuon tu get zee-a Peck beck oun tup. Rudgers is leeke-a zee-a cheeckee-a in zee-a beescuoit. Ve-a dun't need tu buoy a nuo cheeckee-a right nuo. Bork Bork Bork!

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Johnblood27's picture

April 24, 2019 at 02:20 am

at last some common sense...

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Johnblood27's picture

April 24, 2019 at 02:21 am

Get him a Gold Chefs coat.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 23, 2019 at 08:48 pm

You can always place your bet in Vegas. I have them at 11-5. They should have swept the queens and Bears beaten Seattle and the Rams with a squad full of holes. This ship ain't listing. Its set for ramming speed.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

April 23, 2019 at 10:50 pm

Love it Jannes!

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Old School's picture

April 24, 2019 at 10:25 am

jannes…..this is exactly what I've said all along. It's not that bad. We were a lot closer to being 10-6 that people want to think about.

1) We got a tie instead of a win in Week 2 against Minnesota when a crappy piece of officiating nullified an interception that would have ended it.

2) Mason Crosby had the worst day of his life, or anybody else's, and we missed an opportunity to win the Detroit game.

These two games alone would have made us 8-8.

Then......Montgomery's Boner cost us a chance for at least a tie against the Rams, and I think in retrospect, it was a defining moment of the season. A win in that game shows the Packers can beat a top team on the road and that we're contenders. But to lose like that, and then cut Montgomery....followed by trading away Dix.....that was a pivot.

And then injuries started setting in. Allison and Cobb, both gone. Jones misses the last couple games. Graham breaks his hand. Rodgers leg hampers him. The defense had already lost Wilkerson and Perry, then followed King and Daniels and Brice......we're down to missing most of our starters by the time the stretch run starts at Thanksgiving.

I agree that we're set for ramming speed. We have a big advantage in that we don't turn the ball over very often. If the defense can generate some takeaways, or even some stops, we should be in good shape.

I think the offense should focus on running more and having Rodgers throw from the pocket and getting rid of the ball quickly. Keep the chains moving , the clock running, and the defense off the field. Win the turnover battle and TOP and we'll have a winning record this year..

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IceBowl's picture

April 23, 2019 at 10:29 pm

This must be draft season meltdown or burnout.

To even suggest a team doesn't have a plan for each slot on the roster is ludicrous. I do not care if it is a K. They are planning their roster for a run at the SB. And they have all, not just some of the players info. (all that can be had). We are only guessing with partial info.

That is what this posturing and subterfuge is all about. Get your free agents, then draft your rookies to fill what is left of your holes (and future holes) and then add undrafted rookies with the potential that can maybe add to your team and/or provide depth.

At least for the Pack, that has been the plan. And yes QB is in the plan, as are all positions. You do understand we have one of the best QB's in the league, under contract for at least 3 and up to 6 years. And, oh bye the way, he played injured all last year. Superman the 2nd.

I hope the Pack doesn't meltdown this weekend. And I hope they do not draft like the "experts." GEEEZZZZE

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Old School's picture

April 24, 2019 at 10:35 am

Thank you for stating that. Obviously, there' a plan for each position, and you see that unfold.

1) Outside pass rush replacing Perry and Matthews. Accomplished in FA.

2) No starting safety. Addressed by signing Amos in FA.

3) Oline depth: Signed Turner, got Madison in the fold, and have interviewed a lot of OTs that might go in that #30 - #45 area.

So you see the plan unfolding. And what is the plan at the backup QB spot?

1) Stick with Kizer. Uggh.
2) Sign a vet FA. We didn't signal any interest, and now our best option would be Osweiler or McCown.
3) We only brought one QB in for a visit, and he's a guy who has been projected to go as early as #10 or as late as #30. We tried to bring another guy in but it didn't work out.

We didn't bring in any last day QB prospects, we didn't try to address it in FA.....what do you think the Packers plan for backup QB is?

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IceBowl's picture

April 24, 2019 at 04:20 pm

Old School,

I agree with you, the plan is taking shape.

The plan for backup QB is also right there. Guty did not participate in the FA backup QB lottery so far. That tells me, as I have said before, that he believes what we already have is equal to, or better than, those FA QB's already signed, or there are still some available that are an equal or better fit for us.

Or he plans to draft another (not Rnd one), but even if he did take one early, that is a mute point to the question of a backup QB for this year. Rookie QB's are not where you are going for wins (historically).

To me this is the logical conclusion. I don't think Guty is half planning.

So, In Rodgers (and Guty) we trust.

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Old School's picture

April 24, 2019 at 04:42 pm

I don't believe that any GM smart enough to run a 1/2 Billion $$ a year business would think we'd be fine with Kizer. And he didn't upgrade in FA, and he didn't invite any last day prospects in.

I would dispute your "rookie QB as ineffective" assertion. Yes, that's true much of the time, but there have been some notable examples. Last year, Baker Mayfield really improved the Browns, and the Ravens went on a win streak with Jackson that got them to the playoffs. Even the worst one won more games that Kizer has in his entire career.

If you want to have a hope that a rookie QB will play halfway well, you almost certainly have to take him early. Drafting a 5th round project isn't going to solve anything.

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IceBowl's picture

April 24, 2019 at 09:10 pm

Old School,

Come on, we are not the ones running that 1/2 Billion $$ a year business. It is the all professionals in the organization with a plan, as you say above, that are running the rosters. The experts.

You give them credit for what they have done, and rightly so, but then criticize what they have not done. I do not understand why.

And with all that Guty has done during FA, I have to believe if their was a QB available that would upgrade us, he would have gotten it done. He brought in a backup OL for heaven sake, and yet you think he would not address our QB position. That does not make sense to me.

And yes, as you say, there are some QB's that beat the "historical" odds of rookie QBs producing wins as rookies (not many). I will go even further and say some of the college programs today produce more NFL ready (almost) rookie QBs than ever before. And even with that said, rookie QBs generally do not produce consistent play or wins. Just as you say above.

You say B Mayfield improved the Browns. True, but, what's your point. Kizer (or most anyone) would have improved the Browns. :-) And I agree Jackson took the Ravens on a win streak - but by running the ball, not passing - an anomaly in today's NFL. But yes, it did happen. Hey, maybe Kizer can do that for us if we get in that position? Only the organization knows what Kizer can do, us fans surely do not have all the details.

I believe Guty, and his team, have a plan. With everything else they did to improve the Pack, I don't believe they let the QB position, the number one position on the team, to be unprotected. It is not logical. It is not professional.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

April 23, 2019 at 10:51 pm

Bring it on!

I am draft ready!

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AgrippaLII's picture

April 24, 2019 at 06:14 am

I can't get excited about any of this year's QB prospects. If Rodgers misses any time this year I'd rather have a guy who has already got some actual game experience on the field...not a complete newbie! I think LaFleur's offensive scheme will help too. Bottom line...fix the holes in the offensive line and lessen the chances of Rodgers going down for an entire season. Protecting the franchise is the number one priority in this year's draft!

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carlbs's picture

April 24, 2019 at 07:39 am

Keep in mind this is '"Don't believe what you hear" week'.

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dobber's picture

April 24, 2019 at 07:52 am

Exactly: let the Packers actions do the talking. Look at their pre-draft visits and the positions they've emphasized: OL, DL, edge, TE. I expect those to be positions they hit early.

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PeteK's picture

April 24, 2019 at 09:55 am

Yes, minus the edge . We have all said that it takes 3 yrs to see how successful a draft pick was, so let's give Kizer a chance.

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IceBowl's picture

April 24, 2019 at 10:21 pm

Subterfuge?

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IceBowl's picture

April 25, 2019 at 05:05 pm

They are flying fast and furious now, rumors for everything. Up, down and all around.

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