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Packers 2021 Roster Preview: QB room depends on resolution of Rodgers situation

APC’s pre-training camp roster review starts at the position everybody is talking about.

Green Bay Packers Training Camp Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers report for training camp on July 27th, with the team’s first practice coming the next day. In the week leading up to camp, Acme Packing Company will break down the Packers’ 90-man roster and give our predictions for who will make the initial 53 at the end of camp. Seven APC contributors submitted their 53-man predictions, and we have combined those picks into our annual consolidated prediction.

Today we get started with the position that poses the biggest question mark on the entire roster: quarterback.

QBs on the 90-man roster

Aaron Rodgers

NFL Experience: 17th year
2020 Stats: 16 starts; 372-526 (70.7% completions), 4299 yards (8.2 yards/attempt), 48 TDs, 5 INTs, 121.5 passer rating
2021 Cap Hit: $37.202 million

Will he show up or won’t he? That’s really the only question surrounding Rodgers, the NFL’s reigning Most Valuable Player. He had a season for the ages in 2020, recording the second-highest passer rating in a single season behind his own record from 2011. If he comes back, expect him to return and play at a high level once again, as he has expressed no frustration with the Packers’ coaching staff or his teammates.

Jordan Love

NFL Experience: 2nd year
2020 Stats: None
2021 Cap Hit: $2.814 million

The Packers’ 2020 first-round draft pick, Love did not play a single snap of game action last year while serving as the team’s third-string quarterback. In particular, a lack of preseason games due to COVID-19 must have been disappointing, so Packers fans will get to see him in person for the first time this summer during training camp and the preseason.

If Rodgers does choose not to report to Green Bay, the starting job is Love’s. If Rodgers appears, Love will be the backup and heir apparent.

Blake Bortles

NFL Experience: 7th year
2020 Stats: None
2021 Cap Hit: $850,000 (veteran minimum benefit)

The Packers signed Bortles earlier this spring after choosing not to draft any quarterbacks or sign any undrafted rookies. With Rodgers not showing up for OTAs, the team had just one quarterback, Love, on the roster to run practices. Enter Bortles, whose experience working with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett in Jacksonville made him an appealing option for the Packers, regardless of his status as a living meme thanks to The Good Place.

Bortles’ experience should give him a chance to make the roster as a backup or third-string option.

Kurt Benkert

NFL Experience: 2nd year
2020 Stats: None
2021 Cap Hit: $780,000

Like Bortles, Benkert was signed shortly before OTAs. He arrived in Green Bay as one of two quarterbacks who participated in the team’s rookie minicamp on a tryout basis, and he earned the spot over fellow football-thrower Chad Kelly. Benkert has quickly developed into one of the Packers’ most entertaining follows on social media, and it would be a great story for him to earn a roster spot after spending three seasons with Atlanta, including two on the Falcons’ practice squad.

Jake Dolegala

NFL Experience: 1st year
2020 Stats: None
2021 Cap Hit: $780,000

The Packers’ fifth quarterback at present is Dolegala, a 6-foot-7 player out of Central Connecticut State. As a rookie, he earned a spot on the Bengals’ roster as their third-string quarterback, though he did not see action on gameday at any point. He then bounced on and off the Patriots’ practice squad last season before signing with the Packers following a tryout in the team’s June minicamp.

APC 53-Man roster prediction

Starter: Aaron Rodgers

Backups: Jordan Love & Blake Bortles

With no real clarity on what is happening yet with Rodgers, APC’s contributors were unanimous in predicting that he returns to the Packers as the starting quarterback for 2021. Whether he reports for the start of camp or not, we expect him to be back in the fold by the time the regular season starts.

Jordan Love will obviously remain on the roster, either as Rodgers’ backup or as the starter should Rodgers indeed elect to sit out the season. But even if Rodgers returns, APC almost unanimously expects the team to keep one of the veteran backup quarterbacks on the roster. Although Benkert has made waves as a fun personality during his short time with the team, Bortles’ experience and his familiarity with Nathaniel Hackett give him a leg up on the QB3 spot in the eyes of our contributors.